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1900, c.U 

SEP 7 ~ 1974 



This book is due at the LOUIS R. WILSON LIBRARY on the 
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" WHY DON'T YOU END IT?" (page 209) 


















Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



I. In which I throw Ambs-ace .... 1 

II. In which I meet Master Jeremy Sparrow 9 

III. In which I marry in Haste .... 18 

IV. In which I am like to repent at Leisure . 27 
V. In which a Woman has her Way . . 39 

VI. In which we go to Jamestown ... 47 

VII. In which we prepare to fight the Spaniard 57 

VIII. In which enters my Lord Carnal . . 67 

IX. In which Two drink of One Cup ... 78 

X. In which Master Pory gains Time to Some 

Purpose 92 

XL In which I meet an Italian Doctor . . 100 
XII. In which I receive a Warning and repose 

a Trust Ill 

XIII. In which the Santa Teresa drops Down- 

stream 118 

XIV. In which we seek a Lost Lady . . . 126 
XV. In which we find the Haunted Wood . 133 

XVI. In which I am rid of an Unprofitable Ser- 
vant 142 

XVII. In which my Lord and I play at Bowls . 152 

XVIII. In which we go out into the Night . 164 

XIX. In which we have Unexpected Company . 174 

XX. In which we are in Desperate Case . 183 

XXI. In which a Grave is digged .... 193 

XXII. In which I change my Name and Occupation 202 

XXIII. In which we write upon the Sand . . 213 

XXIV. In which we choose the Lesser of Two 

Evils 224 

XXV. In which my Lord hath his Day . . 234 

XXVI. In which I am brought to Trial . . . 244 

XXVII. In which I find an Advocate . . . 252 

XX VIII. In which the Springtime is at Hand . . 264 

XXIX. In which I keep Tryst 275 


XXX. In which we start upon a Journey . . 289 

XXXI. In which Nantauquas comes to our Rescue 299 

XXXII. In which we are the Guests of an Emperor 318 

XXXIII. In which my Friend becomes my Foe . 326 

XXXIV. In which the Race is not to the Swift . 338 
XXXV. In which I come to the Governor's House 347 

XXXVI. In which I hear III News .... 358 

XXXVII. In which my Lord and I part Company . 369 

XXXVIII. In which I go upon a Quest . . . 378 

XXXIX. In which we listen to a Song ., « 388 




The work of the day being over, j^gat down upon 
my doorstep, pipe in hand, to rest awhile in the cool 
of the evening. Death is not more still than is this 
Virginian land in the hour when the sun has sunk 
away, and it is black beneath the trees, and the stars 
brighten slowly and softly, one by one. The birds 
that sing all day have hushed, and the horned owls, 
the monster frogs, and that strange and ominous fowl 
(if fowl it be, and not, as some assert, a spirit igj^ 
damned) which w e English o aH the whippoorwill, are n 7 6 
yet silent. Later the wolf will howl and the panther 
scream, but now there is no sound. The winds are 
laid, and the restless leaves droop and are quiet. The ffcnk 
low lap of the water among the reeds is like the 
breathing of one who sleeps in his watch beside the 

I marked the light die from the broad bosom of the 
river, leaving it a dead man's hue. Awhile ago, and 
for many evenings, it had been crimson, — a river of • 
blood. A week before, a great meteor had shot 
through the night, blood-red and bearded, drawing a 
slow-fading fiery trail across the heavens ; and the 
moon had risen that same night blood-red, and upon 


its disk there was drawn in shadow a thing most mar- 
velously like a scalping knife. Wherefore, the fol- 
lowing day being Sunday, good Mr. Stockham, our 
minister at Weyanoke, exhorted us to be on our 
guard, and in his prayer besought that no sedition or 
rebellion might raise its head amongst the Indian 
subjects of the Lord's anointed. Afterward, in the 
churchyard, between the services, the more timorous 
began to tell of divers portents which they had ob- 
served, and to recount old tales of how the savages 
distressed us in the Starving Time. The bolder 
spirits laughed them to scorn, but the women began 
to weep and cower, and I, though I laughed too, 
thought of Smith, and how he ever held the savages, 
and more especially that Opechancanough who was 
now their emperor, in a most deep distrust ; telling us 
that the red men watched while we slept, that they 
might teach wiliness to a Jesuit, and how to bide its 
time to a cat crouched before a mousehole. I thought 
of the terms we now kept with thes e heathen ; of how 
they came and went familiarly amongst us, spying out 
our weakness, and losing the salutary awe which that 
noblest captain had struck into their souls; of how 
many were employed as hunters to bring down deer 
for lazy masters ; of how, breaking the law, and that 
not secretly, we gave them knives and arms, a sol- 
dier's bread, in exchange for pelts and pearls ; of how 
their emperor was forever sending us smooth mes- 
sages ; of how their lips smiled and their eyes frowned. 
That afternoon, as I rode home through the lengthen- 
ing shadows, a hunter, red-brown and naked, rose 
from behind a fallen tree that sprawled across my 
path, and made offer to bring me my meat from the 
moon of corn to the moon of stags in exchange for a 


gun. There was scant love between the savages and 
myself, — it was answer enough when I told him my 
name. I left the dark figure standing, still as a 
carved stone, in the heavy shadow of the trees, and, 
spurring my horse (sent me from home, the year be- 
fore, by my cousin Percy), was soon at my house, — 
a poor and rude one, but pleasantly set upon a slope 
of green turf, and girt with maize and the broad leaves 
of the tobacco. When I had had my supper, I called 
from their hut the two Paspahegh lads bought by me 
from their tribe the Michaelmas before, and soundly 
flogged them both, having in my mind a saying of my / 
ancient captain's, namely, "He who strikes first oft-/ 
times strikes last." 

Upon the afternoon of which I now speak, in the 
midsummer of the year of grace 1621^ as I sat upon 
my doorstep, my long pipe between my teeth and my 
eyes upon the pallid stream below, my thoughts were 
busy with these matters, — so busy that I did not see 
a horse and rider emerge from the dimness of the for- 
est into the cleared space before my palisade, nor 
knew, until his voice came up the bank, that my good 
friend, Master John Rolfe, was without and would 
speak to me. 

I went down to the gate, and, unbarring it, gave 
him my hand and led the horse within the inclosure. 

" Thou careful man ! " he said, with a laugh, as he 
dismounted. " Who else, think you, in this or any 
other hundred, now bars his gate when the sun goes 
down ? " 

" It is my sunset gun," I answered briefly, fastening 
his horse as I spoke. 

He put his arm about my shoulder, for we were old 
friends, and together we went up the green bank to 


the house, and, when I had brought him a pipe, sat 
down side by side upon the doorstep. 

" Of what were you dreaming ? " he asked presently, 
when we had made for ourselves a great cloud of 
smoke. " I called you twice." 

" I was wishing for Dale's times and Dale's laws." 

He laughed, and touched my knee with his hand, 
white and smooth as a woman's, and with a green 
jewel upon the forefinger. 

" Thou Mars incarnate ! " he cried. " Thou first, 
last, and in the meantime soldier! Why, what wilt 
thou do when thou gettest to heaven ? Make it too 
hot to hold thee ? Or take out letters of marque 
against the Enemy ? " 

" I am not there yet," I said dryly. " In the mean- 
time I would like a commission against — your rela- 

He laughed, then sighed, and, sinking his chin into 
his hand and softly tapping his foot against the ground, 
fell into a reverie. 

" I would your princess were alive," I said presently. 

" So do I," he answered softly. " So do I." Lock- 
ing his hands behind his head, he raised his quiet face 
to the evening star. " Brave and wise and gentle," 
he mused. " If I did not think to meet her again, be- 
yond that star, I could not smile and speak calmly, 
Ralj^h, as I do now." 

" 'T is a strange thing," I said, as I refilled my pipe. 
" Love for your brother-in-arms, love for your com- 
mander if he be a commander worth having, love for 
your horse and dog, I understand. But wedded love ! 
I to tie a burden around one's neck because 't is pink 
I and white, or clear bronze, and shaped with elegance f 
1 Fauffh ! " 


" Yet I came with half a mind to persuade thee to 
that very burden ! " he cried, with another laugh. 

" Thanks for thy pains," I said, blowing blue rings 
into the air. 

" I have ridden to-day from Jamestown," he went 
on. " I was the only man, i' faith, that cared to leave 
its gates ; and I met the world — the bachelor world 
— flocking to them. Not a mile of the way but I en- 
countered Tom, Dick, and Harry, dressed in their Sun- 
day bravery and making full tilt for the city. And 
the boats upon the river ! I have seen the Thames 
less crowded." 

" There was more passing than usual," I said ; " but 
I was busy in the fields, and did not attend. What 's 
the lodestar ? " 

" The star that draws us all, — some to ruin, some 
to bliss ineffable, — woman." 

" Humph ! The maids have come, then ?" 

He nodded. "There's a goodly ship down there, I fc> * 
with a goodly lading." -K*^ 

" Videlicet, some fourscore waiting damsels and 
milkmaids, warranted honest by my Lord Warwick," 
I muttered. 

" This business hath been of Edwyn Sandys' man- 
agement, as you very well know," he rejoined, with 
some heat. " His word is good : therefore I hold them 
chaste. That they are fair I can testify, having seen 
them leave the ship." 

" Fair and chaste," I said, " but meanly born." 

" I grant you that," he answered. " But after all, 
what of it ? Beggars must not be choosers. The 
land is new and must be peopled, nor will those who 
come after us look too curiously into the lineage of 
those to whom a nation owes its birth. What we in 


these plantations need is a loosening of the bonds 
which tie ns to home, to England, and a tightening o£ 
those which bind us to this land in which we have cast 
our lot. We put our hand to the plough, but we turn 
our heads and look to our Egypt and its fleshpots. 
'T is children and wife — be that wife princess or 
peasant — that make home of a desert, that bind a 
man with chains of gold to the country where they 
abide. Wherefore, when at midday I met good Master 
Wickham rowing down from Henricus to Jamestown, 
to offer his aid to Master Bucke in his press of busi- 
ness to-morrow, I gave the good man Godspeed, and 
thought his a fruitful errand and one pleasing to the 

" Amen," I yawned. " I love the land, and call it 
home. My withers are unwrung." 

He rose to his feet, and began to pace the green- 
sward before the door. My eyes followed his trim 
figure, richly though sombrely clad, then fell with a 
sudden dissatisfaction upon my own stained and frayed 

" Ralph," he said presently, coming to a stand 
before me, " have you ever an hundred and twenty 
pounds of tobacco in hand ? If not, I " — 

" I have the weed," I replied. " What then ? " 

"Then at dawn drop down with the tide to the 
city, and secure for thyself one of these same errant 

I stared at him, and then broke into laughter, in 
which, after a space and unwillingly, he himself joined. 
When at length I wiped the water from my eyes it 
was quite dark, the whippoorwills had begun to call, 
and Rolfe must needs hasten on. I went with him 
down to the gate. 


" Take my advice, — it is that of your friend," 
he said, as he swung himself into the ..addle. He 
gathered up the reins and struck spurs into his horse, 
then turned to call back to me : " Sleep upon my 
words, Ralph, and the next time I come I look to see 
a farthingale behind thee ! " 

" Thou art as like to see one upon me," I answered. 

Nevertheless, when he had gone, and I climbed the 
bank and reentered the house, it was with a strange 
pang at the cheerlessness of my hearth, and an angry 
and unreasoning impatience at the lack of welcoming f& 
face or voice. In God's name, who was there to wel- A***' 
come me ? None but my hounds, and the flying 
squirrel I had caught and tamed. Groping my way 
to the corner, I took from my store two torches, lit 
them, and stuck them into the holes pierced in the 
mantel shelf ; then stood beneath the clear flame, and 
looked with a sudden sick distaste upon the disorder 
which the light betrayed. The fire was dead, and 
ashes and embers were scattered upon the hearth ; 
fragments of my last meal littered the table, and upon 
the unwashed floor lay the bones I had thrown my 
dogs. Dirt and confusion reigned ; only upon my 
armor, my sword and gun, my hunting knife and dag- 
ger, there was no spot or stain. I turned to gaze upon 
them where they hung against the wall, and in my 
soul I hated the piping times of peace, and longed 
for the camp fire and the call to arms. 

With an impatient sigh, I swept the litter from the 
table, and, taking from the shelf that held my meagre 
library a bundle of Master Shakespeare's plays (gath- ~~( ((,*Ll 
<ered for me by Rolfe when he was last in London), I 
began to read ; but my thoughts wandered, and the 
feale seemed dull and oft told. I tossed it aside, and, 


taking dice from my pocket, began to throw. As I 
cast the bits of bone, idly, and scarce caring to ob- 
serve what numbers came uppermost, I had a vision of 
the forester's hut at home, where, when I was a boy, 
in the days before I ran away to the wars in the Low 
Countries, I had spent many a happy hour. Again 
I saw the bright light of the fire reflected in each 
well-scrubbed crock and pannikin ; again I heard the 
cheerful hum of the wheel ; again the face of the for- 
ester's daughter smiled upon me. The old gray manor 

{ .j;t"Y' /(house, where my mother, a stately dame, sat ever at 
her tapestry, and an imperious elder brother strode to 
and fro among his hounds, seemed less of home to 
me than did that tiny, friendly hut. To-morrow would 
be my thhiy-sixth birthday. All the numbers that 
I cast were high. " If I throw ambs-ace," I said, 
with a smile for my own caprice, " curse me if I do 
not take Rolfe's advice ! " 

I shook the box and clapped it down upon the table, 
then lifted it, and stared with a lengthening face at 

\ ;M what it had hidden ; which done, I diced no more, but 

put out my lights and went soberly to bed. 



Mine are not dicers' oaths. The stars were yet 
shining when I left the house, and, after a word with 
my man Diccon, at the servants' huts, strode down 
the bank and through the gate of the palisade to the 
wharf, where I loosed my boat, put up her sail, and 
turned her head down the broad stream. The wind 
was fresh and favorable, and we went swiftly down 
the river through the silver mist toward the sunrise. 
The sky grew pale pink to the zenith ; then the sun | j 
rose and drank up the mist. The river sparkled and 
shone ; from the fresh green banks came the smell of 
the woods and the song of birds ; above rose the sky, 
bright blue, with a few fleecy clouds drifting across 
it. I thought of the day, thirteen years before, when \u 
for the first time white men sailed up this same river, 
and of how noble its width, how enchanting its shores, 
how gay and sweet their blooms and odors, how vast 
their trees, how strange the painted savages, had 
seemed to us, storm-tossed adventurers, who thought 
we had found a very paradise, the Fortunate Isles at 
least. How quickly were we undeceived ! As I lay 
back in the stern with half-shut eyes and tiller idle 
in my hand, our many tribulations and our few joys 
passed in review before me. Indian attacks ; dissen- 
sion and strife amongst our rulers ; true men per- 
secuted, false knaves elevated ; the weary search for 



gold and the South Sea ; the horror of the pestilence 
and the blacker horror of the Starving Time ; the 
arrival of the Patience and Deliverance, whereat we 
wept like children ; that most joyful Sunday morning 
when we followed my Lord de la Warre to church; 
the coming of Dale with that stern but wholesome 
martial code which was no stranger to me who had 
fought under Maurice of Nassau ; the good times that 
followed, when bowl-playing gallants were put down, 
cities founded, forts built, and the gospel preached ; 
the marriage of Rolfe and his dusky princess ; Argall's 
expedition, in which I played a part, and Argall's in- 
iquitous rule ; the return of Yeardley as Sir George, 
and the priceless gift he brought us, — all this and 
much else, old friends, old enemies, old toils and 
strifes and pleasures, ran, bitter-sweet, through my 
memory, as the wind and flood bore me on. Of what 
was before me I did not choose to think, sufficient 
unto the hour being the evil thereof. 

The river seemed deserted : no horsemen spurred 
along the bridle path on the shore ; the boats were 
few and far between, and held only servants or In- 
dians or very old men. It was as Rolfe had said, 
and the free and able-bodied of the plantations had 
put out, posthaste, for matrimony. Chaplain's Choice 
appeared unpeopled ; Piersey's Hundred slept in the 
sunshine, its wharf deserted, and but few, slow-moving 
figures in the tobacco fields ; even the Indian villages 
looked scant of all but squaws and children, for the 
braves were gone to see the palefaces buy their wives. 
Below Paspahegh a cockleshell of a boat carrying a 
great white sail overtook me, and I was hailed by 
young Hamor. 

" The maids are come ! " he cried. " Hurrah ! " 
and stood up to wave his hat. 


" Humph ! " I said. " I guess thy destination by 
thy hose. Are they not ' those that were thy peach- 
colored ones ' ?" 

" Oons ! yes ! " he answered, looking down with 
complacency upon his tarnished finery. " Wedding 
garments, Captai n EfiCGjfr wedding garments ! " 

I laughed. " Thou art a tardy bridegroom. I 
thought that the bachelors of this quarter of the globe 
slept last night in Jamestown." 

His face fell. " I know it," he said ruefully ; " but 
my doublet had more rents than slashes in it, and 
Martin Tailor kept it until cockcrow. That fellow 
rolls in tobacco ; he hath grown rich off our impover- 
ished wardrobes since the ship down yonder passed 
the capes. After all," he brightened, " the bargain- 
ing takes not place until toward midday, after solemn 
service and thanksgiving. There 's time enough!" 
He waved me a farewell, as his great sail and narrow 
craft carried him past me. 

I looked at the sun, which truly was not very high, 
with a secret disquietude ; for I had had a scurvy 
hope that after all I should be too late, and so the 
noose which I felt tightening about my neck might 
unknot itself. Wind and tide were against me, and 
an hour later saw me nearing the peninsula and mar- 
veling at the shipping which crowded its waters. It 
was as if every sloop, barge, canoe, and dugout be- 
tween Point Comfort and Henricus were anchored off 
its shores, while above them towered the masts of the 
Marmaduke and Furtherance, then in port, and of 
the tall ship which had brought in those doves for 
sale. The river with its dancing freight, the blue 
heavens and bright sunshine, the green trees waving 
in the wind, the stir and bustle in the street and mar- 
ket place thronged with gayly dressed gallants, made 


a fair and pleasant scene. As I drove my boat in be- 
tween the sloop of the commander of Shirley Hundred 
and the canoe of the Nansemond werowance, the two 
bells then newly hung in the church began to peal 
and the drum to beat. Stepping ashore, I had a rear 
view only of the folk who had clustered along the 
banks and in the street, their faces and footsteps be- 
ing with one accord directed toward the market place. 
I went with the throng, jostled alike by velvet and 
dowlas, by youths with their estates upon their backs 
and naked fantastically painted savages, and tram- 
pling the tobacco with which the greedy citizens had 
planted the very street. In the square I brought up 
before the Governor's house, and found myself cheek 
by jowl with Master Pory, our Secretary, and Speaker 
of the Assembly. 

" Ha, Ralph Percy ! " he cried, wagging his gray 
head, " we two be the only sane younkers in the plan- 
tations ! All the others are horn-mad! " 

"I have caught the infection," I said, "and am one 
of the bedlamites." 

He stared, then broke into a roar of laughter. 
" Art in earnest ? " he asked, holding his fat sides. 
" Is Saul among the prophets ? " 

" Yes," I answered. " I diced last night, — yea or 
no ; and the ' yea ' — plague on 't — had it." 

He broke into another roar. " And thou callest 
that bridal attire, man ! Why, our cow-keeper goes 
in flaming silk to-day ! " 

I looked down upon my suit of buff, which had in 
truth seen some service, and at my great boots, which 
I had not thought to clean since I mired in a swamp, 
coming from Henricus the week before ; then shrugged 
my shoulders. 


" You will go begging," he continued, wiping his 
eyes. " Not a one of them will so much as look at 


"Then will they miss seeing a man, and not a pop- 
injay," I retorted. " I shall not break my heart." 

A cheer arose from the crowd, followed by a crash- 
ing peal of the bells and a louder roll of the drum. 
The doors of the houses around and to right and left 
of the square swung open, and the company which 
had been quartered overnight upon the citizens began 
to emerge. By twos and threes, some with hurried 
steps and downcast eyes, others more slowly and with 
free glances at the staring men, they gathered to the 
centre of the square, where, in surplice and band, 
there awaited them godly Master Bucke and Master 
Wickham of Henricus. I stared with the rest, though 
I did not add my voice to theirs. 

Before the arrival of yesterday's ship there had 
been in this natural Eden (leaving the savages out 
of the reckoning) several thousand Adams, and but 
some threescore Eves. And for the most part, the 
Eves were either portly and bustling or withered and 
shrewish housewives, of age and experience to defy 
the serpent. These were different. Ninety slender 
figures decked in all the bravery they could assume ; 
ninety comely faces, pink and white, or clear brown 
with the rich blood showing through ; ninety pair of 
eyes, laughing and alluring, or downcast with long- 
fringes sweeping rounded cheeks ; ninety pair of ripe 
red lips, — the crowd shouted itself hoarse and would 
not be restrained, brushing aside like straws the staves 
of the marshal and his men, and surging in upon the 
line of adventurous damsels. I saw young men, pant- 
ing, seize hand or arm and strive to pull toward them 


some reluctant fair ; others snatched kisses, or fell on 
their knees and began speeches out of Euphues; 
others commenced an inventory of their possessions, 
— acres, tobacco, servants, household plenishing. 
All was hubbub, protestation, frightened cries, and 
hysterical laughter. The officers ran to and fro, 
threatening and commanding ; Master Pory alternately 
cried " Shame ! " and laughed his loudest ; and I 
plucked away a jackanapes of sixteen who had his 
hand upon a girl's ruff, and shook him until the 
breath was well-nigh out of him. The clamor did but 

" Way for the Governor ! " cried the marshal. 
" Shame on you, my masters ! Way for his Honor 
and the worshipful Council ! " 

The three wooden steps leading down from the 
door of the Governor's house suddenly blossomed into 
crimson and gold, as his Honor with the attendant 
Councilors emerged from the hall and stood staring 
at the mob below. 

The Governor's honest moon face was quite pale 
with passion. " What a devil is this ? " he cried 
wrathfully. "Did you never see a woman before? 
Where 's the marshal ? I '11 imprison the last one of 
you for rioters ! " 

Upon the platform of the pillory, which stood in 
the centre of the market place, suddenly appeared a 
man of a gigantic frame, with a strong face deeply 
lined and a great shock of grizzled hair, — a strange 
thing, for he was not old. I knew him to be one 
Master Jeremy Sparrow, a minister brought by the 
Southampton a month before, and as yet without a 
charge* but at that time I had not spoken with him. 
Without word of warning he thundered into a psalm 


of thanksgiving, singing it at the top of a powerful 
and yet sweet and tender voice, and with a fervor and 
exaltation that caught the heart of the riotous crowd. 
The two ministers in the throng beneath took up the 
strain ; Master Pory added a husky tenor, eloquent 
of much sack ; presently we were all singing. The 
audacious suitors, charmed into rationality, fell back, 
and the broken line re-formed. The Governor and 
the Council descended, and with pomp and solemnity 
took their places between the maids and the two min- 
isters who were to head the column. The psalm 
ended, the drum beat a thundering roll, and the pro- 
cession moved forward in the direction of the church. 

Master Pory having left me, to take his place 
among his brethren of the Council, and the mob of 
those who had come to purchase and of the curious 
idle having streamed away at the heels of the marshal 
and his officers, I found myself alone in the square, 
save for the singer, who now descended from the pil- 
lory and came up to me. 

" Captain Ralph Percy, if I mistake not?" he said, 
in a voice as deep and rich as the bass of an organ. 

"The same," I answered. "And you are Master 
Jeremy Sparrow ? " 

" Yea, a silly preacher, — the poorest, meekest, and 
lowliest of the Lord's servitors." 

His deep voice, magnificent frame, and bold and 
free address so gave the lie to the humility of his 
words that I had much ado to keep from laughing. 
He saw, and his face, which was of a cast most mar- 
tial, flashed into a smile, like sunshine on a scarred 

"You laugh in your sleeve," he said good-hu- 
moredly, "and yet I am but what I profess to be. 


In spirit I am a very Job, though nature hath seen fit 
to dress me as a Samson. I assure you, I am worse 
misfitted than is Master Yardstick yonder in those 
Falstaffian hose. But, good sir, will you not go to 
church ? " 

" If the church were Paul's, I might," I answered. 
" As it is, we could not get within fifty feet of the 

" Of the great door, ay, but the ministers may pass 
through the side door. If you please, I will take you 
in with me. The pretty fools yonder march slowly ; 
if we turn down this lane, we will outstrip them 

" Agreed," I said, and we turned into a lane thick 
planted with tobacco, made a detour of the Governor's 
house, and outflanked the procession, arriving at the 
small door before it had entered the churchyard. 
Here we found the sexton mounting guard. 

" I am Master Sparrow, the minister that came in 
the Southampton," my new acquaintance explained. 
" I am to sit in the choir. Let us pass, good fellow." 

The sexton squared himself before the narrow open- 
ing, and swelled with importance. 

" You, reverend sir, I will admit, such being my 
duty. But this gentleman is no preacher; I may 
not allow him to pass." 

" You mistake, friend," said my companion gravely. 
" This gentleman, my worthy colleague, has but just 
come from the island of St. Brandon, where he 
preaches on the witches' Sabbath : hence the disorder 
of his apparel. His admittance be on my head: 
wherefore let us by." 

" None to enter at the west door save Councilors, 
commander, and ministers. Any attempting to force 


an entrance to be arrested and laid by the heels if they 
be of the generality, or, if they be of quality, to bt 
duly fined and debarred from the purchase of anj 
maid whatsoever," chanted the sexton. 

" Then, in God's name, let 's on ! " I exclaimed 
" Here, try this ! " and I drew from my purse, whict 
was something of the leanest, a shilling. 

" Try this," quoth Master Jeremy Sparrow, and | 
knocked the sexton down. 

We left the fellow sprawling in the doorway, sput- 
tering threats to the air without, but with one covet- 
ous hand clutching at the shilling which I threw 
behind me, and entered the church, which we found 
yet empty, though through the open great door we 
heard the drum beat loudly and a deepening souno 
of footsteps. 

" I have choice of position," I said. " Yonder win 
dow seems a good station. You remain here in tht 

" Ay," he answered, with a sigh ; " the dignity of my 
calling must be upheld : wherefore I sit in high places, 
rubbing elbows with gold lace, when of the very truth 
the humility of my spirit is such that I would feel 
more at home in the servants' seats or among the 
negars that we bought last year." 

Had we not been in church I would have laughed, 
though indeed I saw that he devoutly believed his own 
words. He took his seat in the largest and finest of 
the chairs behind the great velvet one reserved for the 
Governor, while I went and leaned against my win- 
dow, and we stared at each other across the flower- 
decked building in profound silence, until, with one 
great final crash, the bells ceased, the drum stopped 
beating, and the procession entered. 



The long service of praise and thanksgiving was 
well-nigh over when T first saw her. 

She sat some ten feet from me, in the corner, and 
so in the shadow of a tall pew. Beyond her was a 
row of milkmaid beauties, red of cheek, free of eye, 
deep-bosomed, and beribboned like Maypoles. I 
looked again, and saw — and see — a rose amongst 
blowzed poppies and peonies, a pearl amidst glass 
beads, a Perdita in a ring of rustics, a nonparella of 
all grace and beauty ! As I gazed with all my eyes, 
I found more than grace and beauty in that wonderful 
face, — found pride, wit, fire, determination, finally 
shame and anger. For, feeling my eyes upon her, she 
looked up and met what she must have thought the 
impudent stare of an appraiser. Her face, which had 
been without color, pale and clear like the sky about 
the evening star, went crimson in a moment. She bit 
her lip and shot at me one withering glance, then 
dropped her eyelids and hid the lightning. When I 
looked at her again, covertly, and from under my 
hand raised as though to push back my hair, she was 
pale once more, and her dark eyes were fixed upon the 
water and the green trees without the window. 

The congregation rose, and she stood up with the 
other maids. Her dress of dark woolen, severe and 
unadorned, her close ruff and prim white coif, would 


have cried " Puritan," had ever Puritan looked like 
this woman, upon whom the poor apparel had the 
seeming of purple and ermine. 

Anon came the benediction. Governor, Councilors, 
commanders, and ministers left the choir and paced 
solemnly down the aisle ; the maids closed in behind ; 
and we who had lined the walls, shifting from one 
heel to the other for a long two hours, brought up 
the rear, and so passed from the church to a fair green 
meadow adjacent thereto. Here the company dis- 
banded ; the wearers of gold lace betaking themselves 
to seats erected in the shadow of a mighty oak, and the 
ministers, of whom there were four, bestowing them- 
selves within pulpits of turf. For one altar and one 
clergyman could not hope to dispatch that day's busi- 

As for the maids, for a minute or more they made 
one cluster ; then, shyly or with laughter, they drifted 
apart like the petals of a wind-blown rose, and silk 
doublet and hose gave chase. Five minutes saw the 
goodly company of damsels errant and would-be 
bridegrooms scattered far and near over the smiling 
meadow. For the most part they went man and maid,, 
but the fairer of the feminine cohort had rings of 
clamorous suitors from whom to choose. As for me, 
I walked alone ; for if by chance I neared a maid, she 
looked (womanlike) at my apparel first, and never 
reached my face, but squarely turned her back. So 
disengaged, I felt like a guest at a mask, and in some 
measure enjoyed the show, though with an uneasy 
consciousness that I was pledged to become, sooner or 
later, a part of the spectacle. I saw a shepherdess 
fresh from Arcadia wave back a dozen importunate 
gallants, then throw a knot of blue ribbon into their 


midst, laugh with glee at the scramble that ensued, 
and finally march off with the wearer of the favor. I - 
saw a neighbor of mine, tall Jack Pride, who lived 
twelve miles above me, blush and stammer, and bow 
again and again to a milliner's apprentice of a girl, 
not five feet high and all eyes, who dropped a curtsy 
-\t each bow. When I had passed them fifty yards or 
more, and looked back, they were still bobbing and 
bowing. And I heard a dialogue between Phyllis 
and Corydon. Says Phyllis, " Any poultry ? " 

Corydon. " A matter of twalve hens and twa 

Phyllis. " A cow ? " 

Corydon. " Twa." 

Phyllis. " How much tobacco ? " 

Corydon. " Three acres, hinny, though I dinna 
drink the weed mysel". I 'm a Stewart, woman, an' 
the King's puir cousin." 

Phyllis. " What household plenishing? " 

Corydon. " Ane large bed, ane flock bed, ane 
trundle bed, ane chest, ane trunk, ane leather cairpet, 
sax cawfskin chairs an' twa-three rush, five pair o' 
sheets an' auchteen dowlas napkins, sax alchemy 
spunes " — 

Phyllis. " I '11 take you." 

At the far end of the meadow, near to the fort, I 
met young Hamor, alone, flushed, and hurrying back 
to the more populous part of the field. 

"Not yet mated?" I asked. "Where are the 
maids' eyes? " 

" By ! " he answered, with an angry laugh. 

" If they 're all like the sample I 've just left, I '11 
buy me a squaw from the Paspaheghs ! " 

I smiled. " So your wooing has not prospered?" 


His vanity took fire. " I have not wooed in ear- 
nest," he said carelessly, and hitched forward his 
cloak of sky-blue tuftaffeta with an air. " I sheered 
off quickly enough, I warrant you, when I found the 
nature of the commodity I had to deal with." 

" Ah ! " I said. " When I left the crowd they were 
going very fast. You had best hurry, if you wish to 
secure a bargain." 

" I 'm off," he answered ; then, jerking his thumb 
over his shoulder, " If you keep on to the river and 
that clump of cedars, you will find Termagaunt in ruff 
and farthingale." 

When he was gone, I stood still for a while and 
watched the slow sweep of a buzzard high in the blue, 
after which I unsheathed my dagger, and with it tried 
to scrape the dried mud from my boots. Succeeding 
but indifferently, I put the blade up, stared again at 
the sky, drew a long breath, and marched upon the 
covert of cedars indicated by Hamor. 

As I neared it, I heard at first only the wash of 
the river ; but presently there came to my ears the 
sound of a man's voice, and then a woman's angry 
" Begone, sir ! " 

" Kiss and be friends," said the man. 

The sound that followed being something of the 
loudest for even the most hearty salutation, I was not 
surprised, on parting the bushes, to find the man 
nursing his cheek, and the maid her hand. 

" You shall pay well for that, you sweet vixen ! " 
he cried, and caught her by both wrists. 

She struggled fiercely, bending her head this way 
and that, but his hot lips had touched her face before 
I could come between. 

When I had knocked him down he lay where he 


fell, dazed by the blow, and blinking up at me with 
his small ferret eyes. I knew him to be one Edward 
Sharpless, and I knew no good of him. He had been 
a lawyer in England. He lay on the very brink of 
the stream, with one arm touching the water. Flesh 
and blood could not resist it, so, assisted by the toe of 
my boot, he took a cold bath to cool his hot blood. 

When he had clambered out and had gone away, 
cursing, I turned to face her. She stood against 
the trunk of a great cedar, her head thrown back, a 
spot of angry crimson in each cheek, one small hand 
clenched at her throat. I had heard her laugh as 
Sharpless touched the water, but now there was only 
defiance in her face. As we gazed at each other, a 
burst of laughter came to us from the meadow behind. 
I looked over my shoulder, and beheld young Hamor, 
— probably disappointed of a wife, — with Giles 
Allen and Wynne, returning to his abandoned quarry. 
She saw, too, for the crimson spread and deepened 
and her bosom heaved. Her dark eyes, glancing here 
and there like those of a hunted creature, met my 

" Madam," I said, " will you marry me ? " 

She looked at me strangely. " Do you live here ? " 
she asked at last, with a disdainful wave of her hand 
toward the town. 

" No, madam," I answered. " I live up river, in 
Weyanoke Hundred, some miles from here." 

" Then, in God's name, let us be gone ! " she cried, 
with sudden passion. 

I bowed low, and advanced to kiss her hand. 

The finger tips which she slowly and reluctantly 
resigned to me were icy, and the look with which she 
favored me was not such an one as poets feign for like 


occasions. I shrugged the shoulders of my spirit, but 
said nothing. So, hand in hand, though at arms' 
length, we passed from the shade of the cedars into 
the open meadow, where we presently met Hamor and 
his party. They would have barred the way, laugh- 
ing and making unsavory jests, but I drew her closer 
to me and laid my hand upon my sword. They stood 
aside, for I was the best swordsman in Virginia. — **** 

The meadow was now less thronged. The river, 
up and down, was white with sailboats, and across 
the neck of the peninsula went a line of horsemen, 
each with his purchase upon a pillion behind him. 
The Governor, the Councilors, and the commanders 
had betaken themselves to the Governor's house, 
where a great dinner was to be given. But Master 
Piersey, the Cape Merchant, remained to see the 
Company reimbursed to the last leaf, and the four 
ministers still found occupation, though one couple 
trod not upon the heels of another, as they had done 
an hour agone. 

" I must first satisfy the treasurer," I said, coming 
to a halt within fifty feet of the now deserted high 

She drew her hand from mine, and looked me up 
and down. 

" How much is it ?" she asked at last. " I will pay 

I stared at her. 

" Can't you speak? " she cried, with a stamp of her 
foot. " At what am I valued ? Ten pounds — fifty 
pounds " — 

"At one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco, 
madam," I said dryly. " I will pay it myself. To 
what name upon the ship's list do you answer?" 


" EatafiBSS " VyV^V' she replied. 

I left her standing there, and went upon my errand 
with a whirling brain. Her enrollment in that com- 
pany proclaimed her meanly born, and she bore her- 
self as of blood royal ; of her own free will she had 
crossed an ocean to meet this day, and she held in pas- 
sionate hatred this day and all that it contained ; she 
was come to Virginia to better her condition, and the 
purse which she had drawn from her bosom was filled 
with gold pieces. To another I would have advised 
caution, delay, application to the Governor, inquiry; 
for myself I cared not to make inquiries. 

The treasurer gave me my receipt, and I procured, 
from the crowd around him, Humfrey Kent, a good 
man and true, and old Belfield, the perfumer, for wit- 
nesses. With them at my heels I went back to her, 
and, giving her my hand, was making for the nearest 
minister, when a' voice at a little distance hailed me, 
crying out, " This way, Captain Percy ! " 

I turned toward the voice, and beheld the great 
figure of Master Jeremy Sparrow sitting, cross-legged 
like the Grand Turk, upon a grassy hillock, and beck- 
oning to me from that elevation. 

" Our acquaintance hath been of the shortest," he 
said genially, when the maid, the witnesses, and I had 
reached the foot of the hillock, " but I have taken a 
liking to you and would fain do you a service. More- 
over, I lack employment. The maids take me for a 
hedge parson, and sheer off to my brethren, who truly 
are of a more clerical appearance. "Whereas if they 
could only look upon the inner man ! You have been 
long in choosing, but have doubtless chosen " — He 
glanced from me to the woman beside me, and broke 
off with open mouth and staring eyes. There wa& 


excuse, for her beauty was amazing. " A paragon," 
lie ended, recovering himself. 

" Marry us quickly, friend," I said. " Clouds are 
gathering, and we have far to go." 

He came down from his mound, and we went and 
stood before him. I had around my neck the gold 
chain given me upon a certain occasion by Prince 
Maurice, and in lieu of other ring I now twisted off 
the smallest link and gave it to her. 

"Your name?" asked Master Sparrow, opening his 

" Ralph Percy, Gentleman." 

"And yours?" he demanded, staring at her with a 
somewhat too apparent delight in her beauty. 

She flushed richly and bit her lip. 

He repeated the question. 

She stood a minute in silence, her eyes upon the 
darkening sky. Then she said in a low voice, " Joce- 
lyn Leigh." ~ / 

It was not the name I had watched the Cape Mer- % 
chant strike off his list. I turned upon her and made 
her meet my eyes. " What is your name ? " I de- 
manded. " Tell me the truth ! " 

" I have told it," she answered proudly. " It is 
Jocelyn Leigh." 

I faced the minister again. " Go on," I said 

" The Company commands that no constraint be 
put upon its poor maids. Wherefore, do you marry 
this man of your own free will and choice? " 

" Ay," she said, " of my own free will." 

Well, we were married, and Master Jeremy Sparrow 
wished us joy, and Kent would have kissed the bride 
had I not frowned him off. He and Belfield strode 



away, and I left her there, and went to get her bundle 
from the house that had sheltered her overnight. Re- 
turning, I found her seated on the turf, her chin in 
her hand and her dark eyes watching the distant play 
of lightning. Master Sparrow had left his post, and 
was nowhere to be seen. 

I gave her my hand and led her to the shore ; then 
loosed my boat and helped her aboard. I was push- 
ing off when a voice hailed us from the bank, and the 
next instant a great bunch of red roses whirled past 
me and fell into her lap. " Sweets to the sweet, you 
know," said Master Jeremy Sparrow genially. " Good- 
wife Allen will never miss them." 

I was in two minds whether to laugh or to swear, 
— for I had never given her flowers, — when she 
.settled the question for me by raising the crimson 
/ mass and bestowing it upon the flood. 

A sudden puff of wind brought the sail around, 
hiding his fallen countenance. The wind freshened, 
coming from the bay, and the boat was off like a 
startled deer. When I next saw him he had recov- 
ered his equanimity, and, with a smile upon his 
rugged features, was waving us a farewell. I looked 
at the beauty opposite me, and, with a sudden move- 
ment of pity for him, mateless, stood up and waved 
to him vigorously in turn. 



When we had passed the mouth of the Chicka- 
hominy, I broke the silence, now prolonged beyond 
reason, by pointing to the village upon its bank, 
and telling her something of Smith's expedition up 
that river, ending by asking her if she feared the 

When at length she succeeded in abstracting her 
attention from the clouds, it was to answer in the 
negative, in a tone of the supremest indifference, 
after which she relapsed into her contemplation of 
the weather. 

Further on I tried again. " That is Kent's, yonder. 
He brought his wife from home last year. What 
a hedge of sunflowers she has planted ! If you love 
flowers, you will find those of paradise in these woods." 

No answer. 

Below Martin-Brandon we met a canoe full of 
Paspaheghs, bound upon a friendly visit to some one 
of the down-river tribes ; for in the bottom of the boat 
reposed a fat buck, and at the feet of the young men 
lay trenchers of maize cakes and of late mulberries. 
I hailed them, and when we were alongside held up 
the brooch from my hat, then pointed to the purple 
fruit. The exchange was soon made ; they sped away, 
and I placed the mulberries upon the thwart beside 


" I am not hungry," she said coldly. "Take them 

I bit my lip, and returned to my place at the tiller. 
This rose was set with thorns, and already I felt 
their sting. Presently she leaned back in the nest 
I had made for her. " I wish to sleep," she said 
haughtily, and, turning her face from me, pillowed 
her head upon her arms. 

I sat, bent forward, the tiller in my hand, and 
stared at my wife in some consternation. This was 
not the tame pigeon, the rosy, humble, domestic crea- 
ture who was to make me a home and rear me chil- 
dren. A sea bird with broad white wings swooped 
down upon the water, now dark and ridged, rested 
there a moment, then swept away into the heart of 
the gathering storm. She was liker such an one. 
Such birds were caught at times, but never tamed 
and never kept. 

The lightning, which had played incessantly in 
pale flashes across the low clouds in the south, now 
leaped to higher peaks and became more vivid, and 
the muttering of the thunder changed to long, boom- 
ing peals. Thirteen years before, the Virginia storms 
had struck us with terror. Compared with those of 
the Old World we had left, they were as cannon to 
the whistling of arrows, as breakers on an iron coast 
to the dull wash of level seas. Now they were nothing 
to me, but as the peals changed to great crashes as 
of falling cities, I marveled to see my wife sleeping 
so quietly. The rain began to fall, slowly, in large 
sullen drops, and I rose to cover her with my cloak. 
Then I saw that the sleep was feigned, for she was 
gazing at the storm with wide eyes, though with no 
fear in their dark depths. When I moved they closed, 


and wher I reached her the lashes still swept her 
cheeks, aid she breathed evenly through parted lips. 
But, against her will, she shrank from my touch as I 
put the cloak about her ; and when I had returned to 
my seat, I bent to one side and saw, as I had expected 
to see, that her eyes were wide open again. If she 
had been one whit less beautiful, I would have wished 
her back at Jamestown, back on the Atlantic, back at 
whatever outlandish place, where manners were un- 
known, that had owned her and cast her out. Pride j C*~i*-'* u ' 
and temper! I set my lips, and vowed that she p* ^ </ " 
should find her match. ^ 

The storm did not last. Ere we had reached Pier- 
sey's the rain had ceased and the clouds were break- 
ing ; above Chaplain's Choice hung a great rainbow ; 
we passed Tants Weyanoke' in the glory of the sunset, 
all shattered gold and crimson. Not a word had been 
spoken. I sat in a humor grim enough, and she lay 
there before me, wide awake, staring at the shifting 
banks and running water, and thinking that I thought 
she slept. 

At last my own wharf rose before me through the 
gathering dusk, and beyond it shone out a light ; for 
I had told Diccon to set my house in order, and to 
provide fire and torches, that my wife might see I 
wished to do her honor. I looked at that wife, and 
of a sudden the anger in my heart melted away. It 
was a wilderness vast and dreadful to which she had 
come. The mighty stream, the towering forests, the 
black skies and deafening thunder, the wild cries of 
bird and beast, the savages, uncouth and terrible, — 
for a moment I saw my world as the woman at my 
feet must see it, strange, wild, and menacing, an evil 
land, the other side of the moon. A thing that I had 


forgotten came to my mind : how that, after our land- 
ing at Jamestown, years before, a boy whoir we had 
with us did each night fill with cries and lamentations 
the hut where he lay with my cousin Percy, Gosnold, 
and myself, nor would cease though we tried both 
crying shame and a rope's end. It was not for home- 
sickness, for he had no mother or kin or home ; and 
at length Master Hunt brought him to confess that it 
was but pure panic terror of the land itself, — not of 
the Indians or of our hardships, both of which he 
faced bravely enough, but of the strange trees and 
the high and long roofs of vine, of the black sliding 
earth and the white mist, of the fireflies and the whip- 
poorwills, — a sick fear of primeval Nature and her 
tragic mask. 

This was a woman, young, alone, and friendless, 
unless I, who had sworn to cherish and protect her, 
should prove myself her friend. Wherefore, when, a 
few minutes later, I bent over her, it was with all 
gentleness that I touched and spoke to her. 

" Our journey is over," I said. " This is home, my 

She let me help her to her feet, and up the wet and 
slippery steps to the level of the wharf. It was now 
quite dark, there being no moon, and thin clouds ob- 
scuring the stars. The touch of her hand, which I 
perforce held since I must guide her over the long, 
narrow, and unrailed trestle, chilled me, and her 
breathing was hurried, but she moved by my side 
through the gross darkness unfalteringly enougho 
Arrived at the gate of the palisade, I beat upon it 
with the hilt of my sword, and shouted to my men to 
open to us. A moment, and a dozen torches came 
flaring down the bank. Diccon shot back the bolts. 


and we entered. The men drew up and saluted ; for 
I held my manor a camp, my servants soldiers, and 
myself their captain. 

I have seen worse favored companies, but doubtless 
the woman beside me had not. Perhaps, too, the red 
light of the torches, now flaring brightly, now sunk 
before the wind, gave their countenances a more vil- 
lainous cast than usual. They were not all bad. 
Diccon had the virtue of fidelity, if none other ; there 
were a brace of Puritans, and a handful of honest 
fools, who, if they drilled badly, yet abhorred mutiny. 
But the half dozen I had taken off Argall's hands ; 
the Dutchmen who might have been own brothers to 
those two Judases, Adam and Francis ; the thief and 
the highwayman I had bought from the precious crew 
sent us by the King the year before ; the negro and 
the Indians — small wonder that she shrank and cow- 
ered. It was but for a moment. I was yet seeking 
for words sufficiently reassuring when she was herself 
again. She did not deign to notice the men's awk- 
ward salute, and when Diccon, a handsome rogue 
enough, advancing to light us up the bank, brushed 
by her something too closely, she drew away her skirts 
as though he had been a lazar. At my own door I 
turned and spoke to the men, who had followed us up 
the ascent. 

" This lady," I said, taking her hand as she stood 
beside me, " is my true and lawful wife, your mistress, 
to be honored and obeyed as such. Who fails in re- 
verence to her I hold as mutinous to myself, and will 
deal with him accordingly. She gives you to-morrow 
for holiday, with double rations, and to each a mea- 
sure of rum. Now thank her properly." 

They cheered lustily, of course, and Diccon, step- 


ping forward, gave us thanks in the name of them all, 
and wished us joy. After which, with another cheer, 
they backed from out our presence, then turned and 
made for their quarters, while I led my wife within 
the house and closed the door. 

Diccon was an ingenious scoundrel. I had told him 
to banish the dogs, to have the house cleaned and lit, 
and supper upon the table ; but I had not ordered the 
floor to be strewn with rushes, the walls draped with 
flowering vines, a great jar filled with sunflowers, and 
an illumination of a dozen torches. Nevertheless, it 
looked well, and I highly approved the capon aud 
maize cakes, the venison pasty and ale, with which the 
table was set. Through the open doors of the two 
other rooms were to be seen more rushes, more flowers, 
and more lights. 

To the larger of these rooms I now led the way, de- 
posited her bundle upon the settle, and saw that Dic- 
con had provided fair water for her face and hands ; 
which done, I told her that supper waited upon her 
convenience, and went back to the great room. 

She was long in coming, so long that I grew impa- 
tient and went to call her. The door was ajar, and so 
I saw her, kneeling in the middle of the floor, her 
head thrown back, her hands raised and clasped, on 
her face terror and anguish of spirit written so large 
that I started to see it. I stared in amazement, and, 
had I followed my first impulse, would have gone to 
her, as I would have gone to any other creature in so 
dire distress. On second thoughts, I went noiselessly 
back to my station in the great room. She had not 
seen me, I was sure. Nor had I long to wait. Pre- 
sently she appeared, and I could have doubted the 
testimony of my eyes, so changed were the agonized 


face and figure of a few moments before. Beautiful 
and disdainful, she moved to the table, and took the 
great chair drawn before it with the air of an empress 
mounting a throne. I contented myself with the stool. 

She ate nothing, and scarcely touched the canary I 
poured for her. I pressed upon her wine and viands, 
— in vain ; I strove to make conversation, — equally 
in vain. Finally, tired of " yes " and " no " uttered 
as though she were reluctantly casting pearls before 
swine, I desisted, and applied myself to my supper in 
a silence as sullen as her own. At last we rose from 
table, and I went to look to the fastenings of door 
and windows, and returning found her standing in 
the centre of the room, her head up and her hands 
clenched at her sides. I saw that we were to have it 
out then and there, and I was glad of it. 

" You have something to say," I said. " I am quite 
at your command," and I went and leaned against the 

The low fire upon the hearth burnt lower still 
before she broke the silence. When she did speak 
it was slowly, and with a voice which was evidently 
controlled only by a strong effort of a strong will. 
She said : — 

" When — yesterday, to-day, ten thousand years 
ago — you went from this horrible forest down to that 
wretched village yonder, to those huts that make your 
London, you went to buy you a wife ? " 

" Yes, madam," I answered. " I went with that 

" You had made your calculation ? In your mind 
you had pitched upon such and such an article, with 
such and such qualities, as desirable ? Doubtless you 
meant to get your money's worth? " 


" Doubtless," I said dryly. 

" Will you tell me what you were inclined to con- 
sider its equivalent ? " 

I stared at her, much inclined to laugh. The in- 
terview promised to be interesting. 

" I went to Jamestown to get me a wife," I said at 
length, " because I had pledged my word that I would 
do so. I was not over-anxious. I did not run all 
the way. But, as you say, I intended to do the best 
I could for myself ; one hundred and twenty pounds 
of tobacco being a considerable sum, and not to be 
lightly thrown away. I went to look for a mistress 
for my house, a companion for my idle hours, a rosy, 
humble, docile lass, with no aspirations beyond clean- 
liness and good temper, who was to order my house- 
hold and make me a home. I was to be her head 
and her law, but also her sword and shield. That is 
what I went to look for." 

" And you found — me ! " she said, and broke into 
strange laughter. 

I bowed. 

" In God's name, why did you not go further?" 

I suppose she saw in my face why I went no fur- 
ther, for into her own the color came flaming. 

" I am not what I seem ! " she cried out. " I was 
not in that company of choice ! " 

I bowed again. " You have no need to tell me that, 
madam," I said. " I have eyes. I desire to know 
why you were there at all, and why you married me." 

She turned from me, until I could see nothing but 
the coiled wealth of her hair and the bit of white 
neck between it and the ruff. We stood so in silence, 
she with bent head and fingers clasping and unclasp- 
ing, I leaning against the wall and staring at her, for 


what seemed a long time. At least I had time to 
grow impatient, when she faced me again, and all my 
irritation vanished in a gasp of admiration. 

Oh, she was beautiful, and of a sweetness most 
alluring and fatal ! Had Medea worn such a look, 
sure Jason had quite forgot the fleece, and with those 
eyes Circe had needed no other charm to make men 
what she would. Her voice, when she spoke, was no 
longer imperious ; it was low pleading music. And 
she held out entreating hands. 

"Have pity on me," she said. "Listen kindly, 
and have pity on me. You are a strong man and 
wear a sword. You can cut your way through trouble 
and peril. I am a woman, weak, friendless, helpless. 
I was in distress and peril, and I had no arm to save, 
no knight to fight my battle. I do not love deceit. 
Ah, do not think that I have not hated myself for the 
lie I have been. But these forest creatures that you 
take, — will they not bite against springe and snare ? 
Are they scrupulous as to how they free themselves ? 
I too was in the toils of the hunter, and I too was not 
scrupulous. There was a thing of which I stood in 
danger that would have been bitterer to me, a thou- 
sand times, than death. I had but one thought, to 
escape ; how, I did not care, — only to escape. I had 
a waiting woman named Patience Worth. One night 
she came to me, weeping. She had wearied of ser- 
vice, and had signed to go to Virginia as one of Sir 
Edwyn Sandys' maids, and at the last moment her 
heart had failed her. There had been pressure brought 
to bear upon me that day, — I had been angered to 
the very soul. I sent her away with a heavy bribe, 
and in her dress and under her name I fled from — 
I went aboard that ship. No one guessed that I was 


not the Patience Worth to whose name I answered. 
No one knows now, — none but you, none but you." 

" And why am I so far honored, madam ? " I said 

She crimsoned, then went white again. She was 
trembling now through her whole frame. At last she 
broke out : " I am not of that crew that came to 
marry ! To me you are the veriest stranger, — you 
are but the hand at which I caught to draw myself 
from a pit that had been digged for me. It was my 
hope that this hour would never come. When I fled, 
mad for escape, willing to dare anything but that 
which I left behind, I thought, ' I may die before that 
ship with its shameless cargo sets sail.' When the 
ship set sail, and we met with stormy weather, and 
there was much sickness aboard, I thought, ' I may 
drown or I may die of the fever.' When, this after- 
noon, I lay there in the boat, coming up this dreadful 
river through the glare of the lightning, and you 
thought I slept, I was thinking, ' The bolts may strike 
me yet, and all will be well.' I prayed for that death, 
but the storm passed. I am not without shame. I 
know that you must think all ill of me, that you must 
feel yourself gulled and cheated. I am sorry — that 
is all I can say — I am sorry. I am your wife — I 
was married to you to-day — but I know you not and 
love you not. I ask you to hold me as I hold myself, 
a guest in your house, nothing more. I am quite at 
your mercy. I am entirely friendless, entirely alone. 
I appeal to your generosity, to your honor " — 

Before I could prevent her she was kneeling to me, 
and she would not rise, though I bade her do so. 

I went to the door, unbarred it, and looked out into 
the night, for the air within the room stifled me. It 


was not much better outside. The clouds had gath- 
ered again, and were now hanging thick and low. 
From the distance came a rumble of thunder, and the 
whole night was dull, heavy, and breathless. Hot 
anger possessed me : anger against Rolfe for suggest- 
ing this thing to me ; anger against myself for that 
unlucky throw ; anger, most of all, against the woman 
who had so cozened me. In the servants' huts, a hun- 
dred yards away, lights were still burning, against 
rule, for the hour was late. Glad that there was 
something I could rail out against, I strode down 
upon the men, and caught them assembled in Diccon's 
cabin, dicing for to-morrow's rum. When I had 
struck out the light with my rapier, and had rated 
the rogues to their several quarters, I went back 
through the gathering storm to the brightly-lit, flower- 
decked room, and to Mistress Percy. 

She was still kneeling, her hands at her breast, and 
her eyes, wide and dark, fixed upon the blackness 
without the open door. I went up to her and took 
her by the hand. 

" I am a gentleman, madam," I said. " You need 
have no fear of me. I pray you to rise." 

She stood up at that, and her breath came hurriedly 
through her parted lips, but she did not speak. 

" It grows late, and you must be weary," I contin- 
ued. " Your room is yonder. I trust that you will 
sleep well. Good-night." 

I bowed low, and she curtsied to me. " Good- 
night," she said. 

On her way to the door, she brushed against the 
rack wherein hung my weapons. Among them was 
a small dagger. Her quick eye caught its gleam, and 
I saw her press closer to the wall, and with her right 


hand strive stealthily to detach the blade from its 
fastening. She did not understand the trick. Her 
hand dropped to her side, and she was passing on, 
when I crossed the room, loosened the dagger, and 
offered it to her, with a smile and a bow. She flushed 
scarlet and bit her lips, but she took it. 

" There are bars to the door within," I said. 
" Again, good-night." 

" Good-night," she answered, and, entering the 
room, she shut the door. A moment more, and I 
heard the heavy bars drop into place. 



Ten days later, Rolfe, going down river in his 
barge, touched at my wharf, and finding me there 
walked with me toward the house. 

" I have not seen you since you laughed my advice 
to scorn — and took it," he said. "Where's the far- 
thingale, Benedick the married man ? " 

" In the house." 

" Oh, ay ! " he commented. " It 's near to supper 
time. I trust she 's a good cook ? " 

" She does not cook," I said dryly. " I have hired 
old Goody Cotton to do that." 

He eyed me closely. " By all the gods ! a new 
doublet ! She is skillful with her needle, then ? " 

" She may be," I answered. " Having never seen 
her with one, I am no judge. The doublet was made 
by the tailor at Flowerdieu Hundred." , 

By this we had reached the level sward at the top 
of the bank. " Roses ! " he exclaimed, — "a long 
row of them new planted ! An arbor, too, and a seat 
beneath the big walnut ! Since when hast thou turned 
gardner, Ralph ? " 

" It 's Diccon's doing. He is anxious to please his 

" Who neither sews, nor cooks, nor plants ! What 
does she do ? " 

" She pulls the roses," I said. " Come in." 


When we had entered the house he stared about 
him ; then cried out, " Acrasia's bower ! Oh, thou 
sometime Guyon ! " and began to laugh. 

It was late afternoon, and the slant sunshine stream- 
ing in at door and window striped wall and floor with 
gold. Floor and wall were no longer logs gnarled and 
stained : upon the one lay a carpet of delicate ferns 
and aromatic leaves, and glossy vines, purple-berried, 
tapestried the other. Flowers — purple and red and 
yellow — were everywhere. As we entered, a figure 
started up from the hearth. 

" St. George ! " exclaimed Rolfe. " You have never 
married a blackamoor ? " 

" It is the negress, Angela," I said. " I bought 
her from William Pierce the other day. Mistress 
Percy wished a waiting damsel." 

The creature, one of the five females of her kind 
then in Virginia, looked at us with large, rolling eyes. 
She knew a little Spanish, and I spoke to her in that 
tongue, bidding her find her mistress and tell her that 
company waited. When she was gone I placed a jack 
of ale upon the table, and Rolfe and I sat down to 
discuss it. Had I been in a mood for laughter, I 
could have found reason in his puzzled face. There 
were flowers upon the table, and beside them a litter 
of small objects, one of which he now took up. 

" A white glove," he said, " perfumed and silver- 
fringed, and of a size to fit Titania." 

I spread its mate out upon my palm. " A woman's 
hand. Too white, too soft, and too small." 

He touched lightly, one by one, the slender fingers 
of the glove he held. " A woman's hand, — strength 
in weakness, veiled power, the star in the mist., guid- 
ing, beckoning, drawing upward 3 " 


I laughed and threw the glove from me. " The 
star, a will-of-the-wisp ; the goal, a slough," I said. 

As he sat opposite me a change came over his face, 
— a change so great that I knew before I turned that 
she was in the room. 

The bundle which I had carried for her from James- 
town was neither small nor light. Why, when she 
fled, she chose to burden herself with such toys, or 
whether she gave a thought to the suspicions that 
might be raised in Virginia if one of Sir Edwyn's 
maids bedecked herself in silk and lace and jewels, I 
do not know, but she had brought to the forest and 
the tobacco fields the gauds of a maid of honor. The 
Puritan dress in which I first saw her was a thing of 
the past ; she clothed herself now like the parrakeets 
in the forest, — or liker the lilies of the field, for ver- 
ily she toiled not, neither did she spin. 

Eolfe and I rose from our seats. " Mistress Percy," 
I said, " let me present to you a right worthy gen- 
tleman and my very good friend, Master John 

She curtsied, and he bowed low. He was a man of 
quick wit and had been at court, but for a time he 
could find no words. Then : " Mistress Percy's face { . 
is not one to be forgotten. I have surely seen it i y)*?- 
before, though where " — ' 

Her color mounted, but she answered him indiffer- 
ently enough. " Probably in London, amongst the 
spectators of some pageant arranged in honor of the 
princess, your wife, sir," she said carelessly. " I had 
twice the fortune to see the Lady Rebekak passing 
through the streets." 

" Not in the streets only," he said courteously. " I 
remember now : 't was at my lord bishop's dinner. 


A very courtly company it was. You were laugh- 
ing with my Lord Eich. You wore pearls in your 
hair" — 

She met his gaze fully and boldly. " Memory plays 
us strange tricks at times," she told him in a clear, 
slightly raised voice, " and it hath been three years 
since Master Rolfe and his Indian princess were in 
London. His memory hath played him false." 

She took her seat in the great chair which stood in 
the centre of the room, bathed in the sunlight, and the 
negress brought a cushion for her feet. It was not 
until this was done, and until she had resigned her 
fan to the slave, who stood behind her slowly waving 
the plumed toy to and fro, that she turned her lovely 
face upon us and bade us be seated. 

An hour later a whippoorwill uttered its cry close 
to the window, through which now shone the crescent 
moon. Rolfe started up. " Beshrew me ! but I had 
forgot that I am to sleep at Chaplain's to-night. I 
must hurry on." 

I rose, also. " You have had no supper ! " I cried. 
" I too have forgotten." 

He shook his head. " I cannot wait. Moreover, I 
have feasted, — yea, and drunk deep." 

His eyes were very bright, with an exaltation in 
them as of wine. Mine, I felt, had the same light. 
Indeed, we were both drunk with her laughter, her 
beauty, and her wit. When he had kissed her hand, 
and I had followed him out of the house and down the 
bank, he broke the silence. 

" Why she came to Virginia I do not know " — 

" Nor care to ask," I said. 

"Nor care to ask," he repeated, meeting my gaze. 
" And I know neither her name nor her rank. But 


as I stand here, Ralph, I saw her, a guest, at that 
feast of which I spoke ; and Edwyn Sandys picked 
not his maids from such assemblies." 

I stopped him with my hand upon his shoulder. 
" She is one of Sandys' maids," I asserted, with delib- 
eration, " a waiting damsel who wearied of service and 
came to Virginia to better herself. She was landed 
with her mates at Jamestown a week or more agone, 
went with them to church and thence to the courting 
meadow, where she and Captain Ralph Percy, a gen- 
tleman adventurer, so pleased each other that they 
were married forthwith. That same day he brought 
her to his house, where she now abides, his wife, and 
as such to be honored by those who call themselves his 
friends. And she is not to be lightly spoken of, nor 
comment passed upon her grace, beauty, and bearing 
(something too great for her station, I admit), lest 
idle tales should get abroad." 

"Am I not thy friend, Ralph?" he asked with 
smiling eyes. 

" I have thought so at times," I answered. 

" My friend's honor is my honor," he went on. 
" Where his lips are sealed mine open not. Art con- 

" Content," I said, and pressed the hand he held 
out to me. 

We reached the steps of the wharf, and descending 
them he entered his barge, rocking lazily with the 
advancing tide. His rowers cast loose from the 
piles, and the black water slowly widened between us. 
From over my shoulder came a sudden bright gleam 
of light from the house above, and I knew that Mis- 
tress Percy was as usual wasting good pine knots. I 
had a vision of the many lights within, and of the 


beauty whom the world called rny wife, sitting erect, 
bathed in that rosy glow, in the great armchair, v :th 
the turbaned negress behind her. I suppose Rolfe 
saw the same thing, for he looked from the light to 
me, and I heard him draw his breath. 

" Ralph Percy, thou art the very button upon the 
cap of Fortune," he said. 

To myself my laugh sounded something of the bit- 
terest, but to him, I presume, it vaunted my return 
through the darkness to the lit room and its resplend- 
ent pearl. He waved farewell, and the dusk swal- 
lowed up him and his boat. I went back to the house 
and to her. 

She was sitting as we had left her, with her small 
feet crossed upon the cushion beneath them, her hands 
folded in her silken lap, the air from the waving fan 
blowing tendrils of her dark hair against her delicate 
standing ruff. I went and leaned against the window, 
facing her. 

" I have been chosen Burgess for this hundred," I 
said abruptly. " The Assembly meets next week. I 
must be in Jamestown then and for some time to 

She took the fan from the negress, and waved it 
lazily to and fro. "When do we go?" she asked at 

" We ! " I answered. "I had thought to go alone." 

The fan dropped to the floor, and her eyes opened 
wide. " And leave me here ! " she exclaimed. " Leave 
me in these woods, at the mercy of Indians, wolves, 
and your rabble of servants ! " 

I smiled. " We are at peace with the Indians ; it 
would be a stout wolf that could leap this palisade ; 
the servants know their master too well to care 


to offend their mistress. Moreover, I would leave 
Diccon in charge." 

" Diccon ! " she cried. " The old woman in the 
kitchen hath told me tales of Diccon ! Diccon Bravo ! 
Diccon Gamester ! Diccon Cutthroat ! " 

"Granted," I said. "But Diccon Faithful as well. 
I can trust him." 

" But I do not trust him ! " she retorted. " And 
I wish to go to Jamestown. This forest wearies me." 
Her tone was imperious. 

" I must think it over," I said coolly. " I may 
take you, or I may not. I cannot tell yet." 

" But I desire to go, sir ! " 

" And I may desire you to stay." 

" You are a churl ! " 

I bowed. " I am the man of your choice, madam." 

She rose with a stamp of her foot, and, turning her 
back upon me, took a flower from the table and com- 
menced to pull from it its petals. I unsheathed my 
sword, and, seating myself, began to polish away a 
speck of rust upon the blade. Ten minutes later I 
looked up from the task, to receive full in my face 
a red rose tossed from the other side of the room. 
The missile was followed by an enchanting burst of 

" We cannot afford to quarrel, can we ? " cried 
Mistress Joceiyn Percy. " Life is sad enough in this 
solitude without that. Nothing but trees and water 
all day long, and not a sc speak to ! And I am 

horribly afraid of the Ivj .ans ! What if they were 
to kill me while you were away ? You know you 
swore before the minister to protect me. You won't 
leave me to the mercies of the savages, will you? 
And I may go to Jamestown, may n't I ? I want to 


go to church. I want to go to the Governor's house. 
I want to buy a many things. I have gold in plenty, 
and but this one decent dress. You '11 take me with 
you, won't you? " 

"There's not your like in Virginia," I told her. 
" If you go to town clad like that and with that bear- 
ing, there will be talk enough. And ships come and 
go, and there are those besides Rolfe who have been 
to London." 

For a moment the laughter died from her eyes and 
lips, but it returned. " Let them talk," she said. 
" What care I ? And I do not think your ship cap- 
tains, your traders and adventurers, do often dine 
with my lord bishop. This barbarous forest world 
and another world that I wot of are so far apart that 
the inhabitants of the one do not trouble those of the 
other. In that petty village down there I am safe 
enough. Besides, sir, you wear a sword." 

" My sword is ever at your service, madam." 

" Then I may go to Jamestown ? " 

" If you will it so." 

With her bright eyes upon me, and with one hand 
softly striking a rose against her laughing lips, she 
extended the other hand. 

" You may kiss it, if you wish, sir," she said de- 

I knelt and kissed the white fingers, and four days 
later we went to Jamestown. 



It was early morning when we set out on horse- 
back for Jamestown. I rode in front, with Mistress 
Percy upon a pillion behind me, and Diccon on the 
brown mare brought up the rear. The negress and 
the mails I had sent by boat. 

Now, a ride through the green wood with a noble 
horse beneath you, and around you the freshness of 
the morn, is pleasant enough. Each twig had its 
row of diamonds, and the wet leaves that we pushed 
aside spilled gems upon us. The horses set their 
hoofs daintily upon fern and moss and lush grass. In 
the purple distances deer stood at gaze, the air rang 
with innumerable bird notes, clear and sweet, squir- 
rels chattered, bees hummed, and through the thick 
leafy roof of the forest the sun showered gold dust. 
And Mistress Jocelyn Percy was as merry as the 
morning. It was now fourteen days since she and I 
had first met, and in that time I had found in her 
thrice that number of moods. She could be as gay 
and sweet as the morning, as dark and vengeful as the 
storms that came up of afternoons, pensive as the 
twilight, stately as the night, — in her there met a 
hundred minds. Also she could be childishly frank 
— and tell you nothing. 

To-day she chose to be gracious. Ten times in an 
hour Diccon was off his horse to pluck this or that 


flower that her white forefinger pointed out. She wove 
the blooms into a chaplet, and placed it upon her 
head ; she rilled her lap with trailers of the vine that 
swayed against us, and stained her fingers and lips 
with the berries Diccon brought her ; she laughed at 
the squirrels, at the scurrying partridges, at the tur- 
keys that crossed our path, at the fish that leaped 
from the brooks, at old Jocomb and his sons who fer- 
ried us across the Chickahominy. She was curious 
concerning the musket I carried ; and when, in an 
open space in the wood, we saw an eagle perched upon 
a blasted pine, she demanded my pistol. I took it 
from my belt and gave it to her, with a laugh. " I 
will eat all of your killing," I said. 

She aimed the weapon. " A wager ! " she declared. 
" There be mercers in Jamestown ? If I hit, thou 'It 
buy me a pearl hatband ? " 


She fired, and the bird rose with a scream of wrath 
and sailed away. But two or three feathers came float- 
ing to the ground, and when Diccon had brought them 
to her she pointed triumphantly to the blood upon 
them. " You said two ! " she cried. 

The sun rose higher, and the heat of the day set in. 
Mistress Percy's interest in forest bloom and creature 
flagged. Instead of laughter, we had sighs at the 
length of way ; the vines slid from her lap, and she 
took the faded flowers from her head and cast them 
aside. She talked no more, and by and by I felt her 
L&ad droop against my shoulder. 

" Madam is asleep," said Diccon's voice behind me. 

" Ay," I answered. " She '11 find a jack of mail 
but a hard pillow. And look to her that she does not 


*' I had best walk beside you, then," he said. 

I nodded, and he dismounted, and throwing the 
mare's bridle over his arm strode on beside us, with 
his hand upon the frame of the pillion. Ten minutes 
passed, the last five of which I rode with my face over 
my shoulder. " Diccon ! " I cried at last, sharply. 

He came to his senses with a start. " Ay, sir ? " he 
questioned, his face dark red. 

" Suppose you look at me for a change," I said. 
" How long since Dale came in, Diccon ? " 

" Ten years, sir." 

" Before we enter Jamestown we '11 pass through 
a certain field and beneath a certain tree. Do you 
remember what happened there, some years ago ? " 

" I am not like to forget, sir. You saved me from 
the wheel." 

" Upon which you were bound, ready to be broken 
for drunkenness, gaming, and loose living. I begged 
your life from Dale for no other reason, I think, than 
that you had been a horse-boy in my old company in 
the Low Countries. God wot, the life was scarcely 
worth the saving ! " 

" I know it, sir." 

" Dale would not let you go scot-free, but would 
sell you into slavery. At your own entreaty I bought 
you, since when you have served me indifferently well. 
You have showed small penitence for past misdeeds, 
and your amendment hath been of yet lesser bulk. 
A hardy rogue thou wast born, and a rogue thou wilt 
remain to the end of time. But we have lived and 
hunted, fought and bled together, and in our own 
fashion I think we bear each other good will, — even 
some love. I have winked at much, have shielded 
you in much, perhaps. In return I have demanded 


one tiling, which if you had not given I would have 
found you another Dale to deal with." 

" Have I ever refused it, my captain ? " 

" Not yet. Take your hand from that pillion and 
hold it up ; then say after me these words : ' This 
lady is my mistress, my master's wife, to be by me 
reverenced as such. Her face is not for my eyes nor 
her hand for my lips. If I keep not myself clean of 
all offense toward her, may God approve that which 
my master shall do ! ' " 

The blood rushed to his face. I watched his fingers 
slowly loosening their grasp. 

" Tardy obedience is of the house of mutiny," I 
said sternly. " Will you, sirrah, or will you not? " 

He raised his hand and repeated the words. 

" Now hold her as before," I ordered, and, straight- 
ening myself in the saddle, rode on, with my eyes 
once more on the path before me. 

A mile further on, Mistress Percy stirred and raised 
her head from my shoulder. " Not at Jamestown 
yet? " she sighed, as yet but half awake. " Oh, the 
endless trees! I dreamed I was hawking at Windsor, 
and then suddenly I was here in this forest, a bird, 
happy because I was free ; and then a falcon came 
swooping down upon me, — it had me in its talons, 
and I changed to myself again, and it changed to — 
What am I saying? I am talking in my sleep. Whc 
is that singing ? " 

In fact, from the woods in front of us, and not a 
bowshot away, rang out a powerful voice : — 

" ' In the merry month of May, 
In a morn hy break of day, 
With a troop of damsels playing 
Forth I went, forsooth, a-maying ; ' " 


and presently, the trees thinning in front of us, we 
came upon a little open glade and upon the singer. 
He lay on his back, on the soft turf beneath an oak, 
with his hands clasped behind his head and his eyes 
upturned to the blue sky showing between leaf and 
branch. On one knee crossed above the other sat a ^jr 
squirrel with a nut in its paws, and half a dozen 
others scampered here and there over his great body, 
like so many frolicsome kittens. At a little distance 
grazed an old horse, gray and gaunt, springhalt and 
spavined, with ribs like Death's own. Its saddle and 
bridle adorned a limb of the oak. 
The song went cheerfully on : — 

" ' Much ado there was, God wot : 
He would love and she would not ; 

She said, " Never man was true." 
He said, " None was false to you." ' " 

" Give you good-day, reverend sir ! : ' I called. 
" Art conning next Sunday's hymn ? " 

Nothing abashed, Master Jeremy Sparrow gently 
shook off the squirrels, and getting to his feet ad- 
vanced to meet us. 

" A toy," he declared, with a wave of his hand, " a 
trifle, a silly old song that came into my mind un- 
awares, the leaves being so green and the sky so blue. 
Had you come a little earlier or a little later, you 
would have heard the ninetieth psalm. Give you 
good-day, madam. I must have sung for that the 
very queen of May was coming by." 

" Art on your way to Jamestown ? " I demanded. 
" Come ride with us. Diccon, saddle his reverence's 

" Saddle him an thou wilt, friend," said Master 
Sparrow, " for he and I have idled long enough, but 


I fear I cannot keep pace with this fair company. 1 
and the horse are footing it together." 

"He is not long for this world," I remarked, eyeing 
his ill-favored steed, " but neither are we far from 
Jamestown. He '11 last that far." 

Master Sparrow shook his head, with a rueful 
countenance. " I bought him from one of the French 
vignerons below Westover," he said. " The fellow 
was astride the poor creature, beating him with a 
club because he could not go. I laid Monsieur Cra- 
paud in the dust, after which we compounded, he for 
my purse, I for the animal ; since when the poor beast 
and I have tramped it together, for I could not in 
conscience ride him. Have you read me -ZEsop his 
fables, Captain Percy ? " 

" I remember the man, the boy, and the ass," I re- 
plied. " The ass came to grief in the end. Put thy 
scruples in thy pocket, man, and mount thy pale 

" Not I ! " he said, with a smile. " 'T is a thousand 
pities, Captain Percy, that a small, mean, and squeam- 
ish spirit like mine should be cased like a very Guy 
of Warwick. Now, if I were slight of body, or even 
if I were no heavier than your servant there " — 

" Oh ! " I said. " Diccon, give his reverence the 
mare, and do you mount his horse and bring him 
slowly on to town. If he will not carry you, you can 
lead him in." 

Sunshine revisited the countenance of Master Jer- 
emy Sparrow ; he swung his great body into the 
saddle, gathered up the reins, and made the mare to 
caracole across the path for very joy. 

" Have a care of the poor brute, friend ! " he cried 
genially to Diccon, whose looks were of the sulkiest, 


" Bring him gently on, and leave him at Master 
Bucke's, near to the church." 

" What do you do at Jamestown ? " I asked, as we 
passed from out the glade into the gloom of a pine 
wood. " I was told that you were gone to Henricus, 
fco help Master Thorpe convert the Indians." 

" Ay," he answered, " I did go. I had a call, — I 
was sure I had a call. I thought of myself as a very 
apostle to the Gentiles. I went from Henricus one 
day's journey into the wilderness, with none but an 
Indian lad for interpreter, and coming to an Indian 
village gathered its inhabitants about me, and sitting 
down upon a hillock read and expounded to them the 
Sermon on the Mount. I was much edified by the 
solemnity of their demeanor and the earnestness of 
their attention, and had conceived great hopes for 
their spiritual welfare, when, the reading and exhorta- 
tion being finished, one of their old men arose and 
made me a long speech, which I could not well under- 
stand, but took to be one of grateful welcome to my- 
self and my tidings of peace and good will. He then 
desired me to tarry with them, and to be present at some 
entertainment or other, the nature of which I could 
not make out. I tarried ; and toward evening they 
conducted me with much ceremony to an open space 
in the midst of the village. There I found planted 
in the ground a thick stake, and around it a ring of 
flaming brushwood. To the stake was fastened an 
Indian warrior, captured, so my interpreter informed 
me, from some hostile tribe above the falls. His arms 
and ankles were secured to the stake by means of 
thongs passed through incisions in the flesh ; his body 
was stuck over with countless pine splinters, each 
burning like a miniature torch ; and on his shaven 



crown was tied a thin plate of copper heaped with 
red-hot coals. A little to one side appeared another 
stake and another circle of brushwood : the one with 
nothing tied to it as yet, and the other still unlit. 
My friend, I did not tarry to see it lit. I tore a branch 
from an oak, and I became as Samson with the jaw 
bone of the ass. I fell upon and smote those Philis^ 
tines. Their wretched victim was beyond all human 
help, but I dearly avenged him upon his enemies. 
And they had their pains for naught when they 
planted that second stake and laid the brush for their 
hell fire. At last I dropped into the stream upon 
which their damnable village was situate, and got 
safely away. Next day I went to George Thorpe and 
resigned my ministry, telling him that we were no- 
where commanded to preach to devils ; when the Com- 
pany was ready to send shot and steel amongst them, 
they might count upon me. After which I came down 
the river to Jamestown, where I found worthy Master 
~t Bucke well-nigh despaired of with the fever. Finally 
*, he was taken up river for change of air, and, for lack 
of worthier substitute, the Governor and Captain West 
constrained me to remain and minister to the shep- 
herdless flock. Where will you lodge, good sir ? " 

" I do not know," I said. " The town will be full, 
and the guest house is not yet finished." 

" Why not come to me ? " he asked. " There are 
none in the minister's house but me and Goodwife 
Allen who keeps it. There are five fair large rooms 
and a goodly garden, though the trees do too much 
shadow the house. If you will come and let the sun- 
shine in," — a bow and smile for madam, — "I shall 
be your debtor." 

His plan pleased me well. Except the Governor's 


and Captain West's, the minister's house was the best 
in the town. It was retired, too, being set in its 
own grounds, and not upon the street, and I desired 
privacy. Goodwife Allen was stolid and incurious. 
Moreover, I liked Master Jeremy Sparrow. 

I accepted his hospitality and gave him thanks. 
He waved them away, and fell to complimenting Mis- 
tress Percy, who was pleased to be gracious to us 
both. Well content for the moment with the world 
and ourselves, we fared on through the alternating 
sunshine and shade, and were happy with the careless 
inhabitants of the forest. Over soon we came to the 
peninsula, and crossed the neck of land. Before us 
lay the town : to the outer eye a poor and mean vil- 
lage, indeed, but to the inner the stronghold and capi- 
tal of our race in the western world, the germ from 
which might spring stately cities, the newborn babe 
which might in time equal its parent in stature, 
strength, and comeliness. So I and a few besides, 
both in Virginia and at home, viewed the mean 
houses, the poor church and rude fort, and loved the 
spot which had witnessed much suffering and small 
joy, but which held within it the future, which was 
even now a bit in the mouth of Spain, a thing in it- 
self outweighing all the toil and anguish of our plant- 
ing. But there were others who saw only the mean- 
ness of the place, its almost defenselessness, its fluxes 
and fevers, the fewness of its inhabitants and the 
number of its graves. Finding no gold and no earthly 
paradise, and that in the sweat of their brow they 
must eat their bread, they straightway fell into the 
dumps, and either died out of sheer perversity, or 
went yelping home to the Company with all manner 
of dismal tales, — which tales, through my Lord War- 


wick's good offices, never failed to reach the sacred 
ears of his Majesty, and to bring the colony and the 
Company into disfavor. 

We came to the palisade, and found the gates wide 
open and the warder gone. 

" Where be the people ? " marveled Master Spar- 
row, as we rode through into the street. In truth, 
where were the people ? On either side of the street 
the doors of the houses stood open, but no person 
looked out from them or loitered on the doorsteps ; 
the square was empty ; there were no women at the 
well, no children underfoot, no gaping crowd before 
gaol and pillory, no guard before the Governor's 
house, — not a soul, high or low, to be seen. 

" Have they all migrated ? " cried Sparrow. " Are 
they gone to Croatan ? " 

" They have left one to tell the tale, then," I said, 
" for here he comes running." 



A man came panting down the street. " Captain 
Ralph Percy ! " he cried. " My master said it was 
your horse coming across the neck. The Governor 
commands your attendance at once, sir." 

" Where is the Governor ? Where are all the peo- 
ple ? " I demanded. 

" At the fort. They are all at the fort or on the 
bank below. Oh, sirs, a woeful day for us all ! " 

" A woeful day ! " I exclaimed. " What 's the 
matter ? " 

The man, whom I recognized as one of the com- 
mander's servants, a fellow with the soul of a French 
valet de chambre, was wild with terror. 

" They are at the guns ! " he quavered. " Alacka- 
day ! what can a few sakers and demiculverins do 
against them ? " 

" Against tuhom ? " I cried. 

" They are giving out pikes and cutlasses ! Woe 's 
me, the sight of naked steel hath ever made me 

I drew my dagger, and flashed it before him. 
" Does 't make you sick ? " I asked. " You shall be 
sicker yet, if you do not speak to some purpose." 

The fellow shrank back, his eyeballs starting from 
his head. 

" It 's a tall ship," he gasped, " a very big ship I 


It hath ten culverins, beside fowlers and murderers, 
sakers, falcons, and bases ! " 

I took him by the collar and shook him off his feet. 

" There are priests on board ! " he managed to say 
as I set him down. " This time to-morrrow we '11 
all be on the rack ! And next week the galleys will 
have us ! " 

" It 's the Spaniard at last," I said. " Come on ! " 

When we reached the river bank before the fort, it 
was to find confusion worse confounded. The gates 
of the palisade were open, and through them streamed 
Councilors, Burgesses, and officers, while the bank 
itself was thronged with the generality. Ancient 
planters, Smith's men, Dale's men, tenants and ser- 
vants, women and children, including the little eyases 
we imported the year before, negroes, Paspaheghs, 
French vignerons, Dutch sawmill men, Italian glass- 
workers, — all seethed to and fro, all talked at once, 
and all looked down the river. Out of the babel of 
voices these words came to us over and over : " The 
Spaniard!" "The Inquisition!" "The galleys!" 
They were the words oftenest heard at that time, 
when strange sails hove in sight. 

But where was the Spaniard ? On the river, hug- 
ging the shore, were many small craft, barges, shallops, 
sloops, and pinnaces, and beyond them the masts of 
the Truelove, the Due Return, and the Tiger, then in 
port ; on these three, of which the largest, the Due 
Return, was of but eighty tons burthen, the mariners 
were running about and the masters bawling orders. 
But there was no other ship, no bark, galleon, or man- 
of-war, with three tiers of grinning ordnance, and the 
hated yellow flag flaunting above. 

I sprang from my horse, and, leaving it and Mis- 


tress Percy in Sparrow's charge, hastened up to the 
fort. As I passed through the palisade I heard my 
name called, and turning waited for Master Pory to 
come up. He was panting and puffing, his jovial face 
very red. 

" I was across the neck of land when I heard the 
news," he said. " I ran all the way, and am some- 
what scant of breath. Here 's the devil to pay ! " 

"It looks another mare's-nest," I replied. "We 
have cried ' Spaniard ! ' pretty often." 

" But this time the wolf 's here," he answered. " Da- 
vies sent a horseman at a gallop from Algernon with 
the tidings. He passed the ship, and it was a very 
great one. We may thank this dead calm that it did 
not catch us unawares." 

Within the palisade was noise enough, but more 
order than without. On the half-moons command- 
ing the river, gunners were busy about our sakers, 
falcons, and three culverins. In one place, West, the 
commander, was giving out brigandines, jacks, skulls, 
muskets, halberds, swords, and longbows ; in another, 
his wife, who was a very Mary Ambree, supervised 
the boiling of a great caldron of pitch. Each loop- 
hole in palisade and fort had already its marksman. 
Through the west port came a horde of reluctant in- 
vaders, — cattle, swine, and poultry, — driven in by 
yelling boys. 

I made my way through the press to where I saw 
the Governor, surrounded by Councilors and Bur- 
gesses, sitting on a keg of powder, and issuing orders 
at the top of his voice. " Ha, Captain Percy ! " he 
cried, as I came up. " You are in good time, man ! 
You 've served your apprenticeship at the wars. You 
must teach us how to beat the dons." 


" To Englishmen, that conies by nature, sir," I said. 
"Art sure we are to have the pleasure?" 

" Not a doubt of it this time," he answered. " The 
ship slipped in past the Point last night. Davies 
signaled her to stop, and then sent a ball over her; 
but she kept on. True, it was too dark to make out 
much ; but if she were friendly, why did she not stop 
for castle duties ? Moreover, they say she was of at 
least five hundred tons, and no ship of that size hath 
ever visited these waters. There was no wind, and 
they sent a man on at once, hoping to outstrip the 
enemy and warn us. The man changed horses at 
Basse's Choice, and passed the ship about dawn. All 
he could tell for the mist was that it was a very great 
ship, with three tiers of guns." 

" The flag ? " 

" She carried none." 

'" Humph ! " I said. " It hath a suspicious look. 
At least we do well to be ready. We '11 give them a 
warm welcome." 

" There are those here who counsel surrender," con 
tinued the Governor. " There 's one, at least, who 
wants the Tiger sent downstream with a white flag 
and my sword." 

" Where ? " I cried. " He 's no Englishman, I war- 
rant ! " 

" As much an Englishman as thou, sir ! " called out 
a gentleman whom I had encountered before, to wit, 
Master Edward Sharpless. " It 's well enough for 
svvingebuckler captains, Low Country fire-eaters, to 
talk of holding out againt a Spanish man-of-war with 
twice our number of fighting men, and enough ord- 
nance to batter the town out of existence. Wise men 
know when the odds are too heavy ! " 


" It 's well enough for lily-livered, goose-fleshed law- 
yers to hold their tongues when men and soldiers 
talk," I retorted. " We are not making indentures 
to the devil, and so have no need of such gentry." 

There was a roar of laughter from the captains and 
gunners, but terror of the Spaniard had made Master 
Edward Sharpless bold to all besides. 

" They will wipe us off the face of the earth ! " he 
lamented. " There won't be an Englishman left in 
America ! They '11 come close in upon us ! They '11 
batter down the fort with their culverins ; they '11 turn 
all their swivels, sakers, and falcons upon us ; they '11 
throw into our midst stinkpots and grenades ; they '11 
mow us down with chain shot ! Their gunners never 
miss ! " His voice rose to a scream, and he shook as 
with an ague. " Are you mad ? It 's Spain that 's to 
be fought ! Spain the rich ! Spain the powerful ! 
Spain the lord of the New World! " 

"It's England that fights!" I cried. " For very 
shame, hold thy tongue ! " 

" If we surrender at once, they '11 let us go ! " he 
whined. " We can take the small boats and get to 
the Bermudas. They '11 let us go." 

" Into the galleys," muttered West. 

The craven tried another feint. " Think of the 
women and children ! " 

" We do," I said sternly. " Silence, fool ! " 

The Governor, a brave and honest man, rose from 
the keg of powder. " All this is foreign to the mat- 
ter, Master Sharpless. I think our duty is clear, be 
the odds what they may. This is our post, and we will 
hold it or die beside it. We are few in number, but 
we are England in America, and I think we will 
remain here. This is the King's fifth kingdom, and 


we will keep it for him. We will trust in the Lord 
and fight it out." 

" Amen," I said, and "Amen," said the ring of 
Councilors and Burgesses and the armed men beyond. 

The hum of voices now rose into excited cries, and 
the watchman stationed atop the big culverin called 
out, " Sail ho ! " With one accord we turned our 
faces downstream. There was the ship, undoubtedly. 
Moreover, a strong breeze had sprung up, blowing 
from the sea, filling her white sails, and rapidly less- 
ening the distance between us. As yet we could only 
tell that she was indeed a large ship with all sail set. 

Through the gates of the palisade now came, pell- 
mell, the crowd without. In ten minutes' time the 
women were in line ready to load the muskets, the 
children sheltered as best they might be, the men in 
ranks, the gunners at their guns, and the flag up. I 
had run it up with my own hand, and as I stood be- 
neath the folds Master Sparrow and my wife came to 
my side. 

" The women are over there," I said to the latter, 
" where you had best betake yourself." 

" I prefer to stay here," she answered. " I am not 
afraid." Her color was high, and she held her head 
up. " My father fought the Armada," she said. 
" Get me a sword from that man who is giving them 

From his coign of vantage the watch now called 
out : " She 's a long ship, — five hundred tons, any- 
how ! Lord ! the metal that she carries ! She 's rase- 
decked ! " 

" Then she 's Spanish, sure enough ! " cried the 

From the crowd of servants, felons, and foreigners 


rose a great clamor, and presently we made out 
Sharpless perched on a cask in their midst and wildly 

" The Tiger, the Truelove, and the Due Return 
have swung across channel ! " announced the watch. 
" They 've trained their guns on the Spaniard ! " 

The Englishmen cheered, but the bastard crew about 
Sharpless groaned. Extreme fear had made the law- 
yer shameless. " What guns have those boats ? " he 
screamed. "Two falcons apiece and a handful of 
muskets, and they go out against a man-of-war ! 
She '11 trample them underfoot ! She '11 sink them 
with a shot, apiece ! The Tiger is forty tons, and the 
Truelove is sixty. You 're all mad ! " 

" Sometimes quality beats quantity," said West. 

" Didst ever hear of the Content ? " sang out a 

" Or of the Merchant Royal ? " cried another. 

" Or of the Revenge ? " quoth Master Jeremy Spar- 
row. " Go hang thyself, coward, or, if you choose, 
swim out to the Spaniard, and shift from thy wet 
doublet and hose into a sanbenito. Let the don come, 
shoot if he can, and land if he will ! We '11 singe his 
beard in Virginia as we did at Cales ! 

' The great St. Philip, the pride of the Spaniards, 
Was burnt to the bottom and sunk in the sea. 
But the St. Andrew and eke the St. Matthew 
We took in fight manfully and brought away.' 

And so we '11 do with this one, my masters ! We '11 
sink her, or we '11 take her and send her against her 
own galleons and galleasses ! 

' Dub-a-dub, dtib-a-dub, thus strike their drams, 
Tantara, tantara, the Englishman comes 1 ' " 


His great voice and great presence seized and held 
the attention of all. Over his doublet of rusty black 
he had clapped a yet rustier back and breast ; on his 
bushy hair rode a headpiece many sizes too small ; by 
his side was an old broadsword, and over his shoulder 
a pike. Suddenly, from gay hardihood his counte- 
nance changed to an expression more befitting his 
calling. " Our cause is just, my masters ! " he cried. 
" We stand here not for England alone ; we stand for 
the love of law, for the love of liberty, for the fear of 
God, who will not desert his servants and his cause, 
nor give over to Anti-Christ this virgin world. This 
plantation is the leaven which is to leaven the whole 
lump, and surely he will hide it in the hollow of his 
hand and in the shadow of his wing. God of battles, 
hear us ! God of England, God of America, aid the 
children of the one, the saviors of the other ! " 

He had dropped the pike to raise his clasped hands 
to the blue heavens, but now he lifted it again, threw 
back his shoulders, and flung up his head. He laid 
his hand on the flagstaff, and looked up to the banner 
streaming in the breeze. " It looks well so high 
against the blue, doesn't it, friends?" he cried gen- 
ially. " Suppose we keep it there forever and a day ! " 

A cheer arose, so loud that it silenced, if it did not 
convince, the craven few. As for Master Edward 
| Sharpless, he disappeared behind the line of women. 

The great ship came steadily on, her white sails 
growing larger and larger, moment by moment, her 
tiers of guns more distinct and menacing, her whole 
aspect more defiant. Her waist seemed packed with 
men. But no streamers, no flag. 

A puff of smoke floated up from the deck of the 
Tiger, and a ball from one of her two tiny falcons 


passed through the stranger's rigging. A cheer for 
the brave little cockboat arose from the English. 
" David and his pebble ! " exclaimed Master Jeremy 
Sparrow. " Now for Goliath's twenty-pounders ! " 

But no flame and thunder issued from the guns 
aboard the stranger. Instead, from her deck there 
came to us what sounded mightily like a roar of 
laughter. Suddenly, from each masthead and yard 
shot out streamers of red and blue, up from the poop 
rose and flaunted in the wind the crosses of St. George 
and St. Andrew, and with a crash trumpet, drum, and 
fife rushed into 

" Here 's to jolly good ale and old ! " 

"By the Lord, she's English ! " shouted the Gov- 

On she came, banners flying, music playing, and 
inextinguishable laughter rising from her decks. The 
Tiger, the Truelove, and the Due Return sent no more 
hailstones against her ; they turned and resolved them- 
selves into her consort. The watch, a grim old sea 
dog that had come in with Dale, swung himself down 
from his post, and came toward the Governor at a 
run. " I know her now, sir ! " he shouted. " I was 
at the winning of Gales, and she 's the Santa Teresa, 
that we took and sent home to the Queen. She was 
Spanish once, sir, but she 's English now." 

The gates were flung open, and the excited people 
poured out again upon the river bank. I found my- 
self beside the Governor, whose honest countenance 
wore an expression of profound bewilderment. 

" What d' ye make of her, Percy ? " he said. " The 
Company does n't send servants, felons, 'prentices, or 
maids in such craft ; no, nor officers or governors, 


either. It 's the King's ship, sure enough, but what is 
she doing here ? — ■ that 's the question. What does 
she want, and whom does she bring ? " 

" We '11 soon know," I answered, " for there goes 
her anchor." 

Five minutes later a boat was lowered from the 
ship, and came swiftly toward us. The boat had four 
rowers, and in the stern sat a tall man, black-bearded, 
high-colored, and magnificently dressed. It touched 
the sand some two hundred feet from the spot where 
Governor, Councilors, officers, and a sprinkling of 
other sorts stood staring at it, and at the great ship 
beyond. The man in the stern leaped out, looked 
around him, and then walked toward us. As he 
walked slowly, we had leisure to note the richness of 
his doublet and cloak, — the one slashed, the other 
lined with scarlet taffeta, — the arrogance of his mien 
and gait, and the superb full-blooded beauty of his 

" The handsomest man that ever I saw ! " ejaculated 
the Governor. 

Master Pory, standing beside him, drew in his 
breath, then puffed it out again. " Handsome enough, 
your Honor," he said, " unless handsome is as hand- 
some does. That, gentlemen, is my Lord Carnal, — = 
that is the King's latest favorite." 



I FELT a touch upon my shoulder, and turned to 
find Mistress Percy beside me. Her cheeks were 
white, her eyes aflame, her whole frame tense. The 
passion that dominated her was so clearly anger at 
white heat that I stared at her in amazement. Her 
hand slid from my shoulder to the bend of my arm 
and rested there. " Remember that I am your wife, 
sir," she said in a low, fierce voice, — " your kind 
and loving wife. You said that your sword was 
mine ; now bring your wit to the same service ! " 

There was not time to question her meaning. The 
man whose position in the realm had just been an- 
nounced by the Secretary, and of whom we had all 
heard as one not unlikely to supplant even Bucking- 
ham himself, was close at hand. The Governor, 
headpiece in hand, stepped forward ; the other swept 
off his Spanish hat ; both bowed profoundly. 

" I speak to his Honor the Governor of Virginia ? " 
inquired the newcomer. His tone was offhand, his 
hat already back upon his head. 

" I am George Yeardley, at my Lord Carnal's ser- 
vice," answered the Governor. 

The favorite raised his eyebrows. " I don't need 
to introduce myself, it seems," he said. " You 've 
found that I am not the devil, after all, — at least 
not the Spanish Apollyon. Zooks ! a hawk above 


a poultry yard could n't have caused a greater com- 
motion than did my poor little ship and my few poor 
birding pieces ! Does every strange sail so put you 
through your paces ? " 

The Governor's color mounted. " We are not at 
home," he answered stiffly. " Here we are few and 
weak and surrounded by many dangers, and have 
need to be vigilant, being planted, as it were, in the 
very grasp of that Spain who holds Europe in awe, 
and who claims this land as her own. That we are 
here at all is proof enough of our courage, my lord." 

The other shrugged his shoulders. " I don't doubt 
your mettle," he said negligently. " I dare say it 
matches your armor." 

His glance had rested for a moment upon the bat- 
tered headpiece and ancient rusty breastplate with 
which Master Jeremy Sparrow was bedight. 

" It is something antique, truly, something out of 
fashion," remarked that worthy, — " almost as out of 
fashion as courtesy from guests, or respect for digni- 
ties from my-face-is-my-fortune minions and lords on 
carpet considerations." 

The hush of consternation following this audacious 
speech was broken by a roar of laughter from the fa- 
vorite himself. " Zounds ! " he cried, " your courage 
is worn on your sleeve, good giant ! I '11 uphold you 
to face Spaniards, strappado, rack, galleys, and all ! " 

The bravado with which he spoke, the insolence of 
his bold glance and curled lip, the arrogance witb 
which he flaunted that King's favor which should be 
a brand more infamous than the hangman's, his beauty, 
the pomp of his dress, — all were alike hateful. I 
II hated him then, scarce knowing why, as I hated him 
II afterward with reason. 


He now pulled from the breast of his doublet a 
packet, which he proffered the Governor. " From 
the King, sir," he announced, in the half-fierce, half- 
mocking tone he had made his own. " You may 
read it at your leisure. He wishes you to further me 
in a quest upon which I have come." 

The Governor took the packet with reverence. 
" His Majesty's will is our law," he said. " Anything 
that lies in our power, sir ; though if you come for 
gold " — 

The favorite laughed again. " I 've come for a 
thing a deal more precious, Sir Governor, — a thing 
worth more to me than all the treasure of the Indies 
with Manoa and El Dorado thrown in, — to wit, the 
thing upon which I 've set my mind. That which I 
determine to do, I do, sir ; and the thing I determine 
to have, why, sooner or later, by hook or by crook, 
fair means or foul, I have it ! I am not one to be 
crossed or defied with impunity." 

" I do not take your meaning, my lord," said the 
Governor, puzzled, but courteous. " There are none 
here who would care to thwart, in any honorable en- 
terprise, a nobleman so high in the King's favor. I 
trust that my Lord Carnal will make my poor house 
his own during his stay in Virginia — What 's the 
matter, my lord ? " 

My lord's face was dark red, his black eyes afire, 
his mustaches working up and down. His white 
teeth had closed with a click on the loud oath which 
had interrupted the Governor's speech. Honest Sir 
George and his circle stared at this unaccountable 
guest in amazement not unmixed with dismay. As 
for myself, I knew before he spoke what had caused 
the oath and fcfoe fierce triumph in that handsome 


face. Master Jeremy Sparrow had moved a little to 
one side, thus exposing to view that which his great 
body had before screened from observation, — namely, 
Mistress Jocelyn Percy. 

In a moment the favorite was before her, hat in 
hand, bowing to the ground. 

" My quest hath ended where I feared it but be- 
gun ! " he cried, flushed and exultant. " I have found 
my Manoa sooner than I thought for. Have you no 
welcome for me, lady ? " 

She withdrew her arm from mine and curtsied 
to him profoundly ; then stood erect, indignant and 
defiant, her eyes angry stars, her cheeks carnation, 
scorn on her smiling lips. 

" I cannot welcome you as you should be welcomed, 
my lord," she said in a clear voice. " I have but my 
bare hands. Manoa, my lord, lies far to the south- 
ward. This land is quite out of your course, and you 
will find here but your travail for your pains. My 
lord, permit me to present to you my husband, Cap- 
tain Ralph Percy. I think that you know his cousin, 
my Lord of Northumberland." 

The red left the favorite's cheeks, and he moved as 
though a blow had been dealt him by some invisible 
hand. Recovering himself he bowed to me, and I to 
hisn, which done we looked each other in the eyes long 
enough for each to see the thrown gauntlet. 

" I raise it," I said. 

" And I raise it," he answered. 

" A l'outrance, I think, sir ? " I continued. 

"A l'outrance," he assented. 

" And between us two alone," I suggested. 

His answering smile was not good to see, nor was the 
tone in which he spoke to the Governor good to hear. 


"It is now some weeks, sir," he said, "since there 
disappeared from court a jewel, a diamond of most 
inestimable worth. It in some sort belong-ed to the 
King, and his Majesty, in the goodness of his heart, 
had promised it to a certain one, — nay, had sworn 
by his kingdom that it should be his. Well, sir, that 
man put forth his hand to claim his own — when lo ! 
the jewel vanished ! Where it went no man could 
tell. There was, as you may believe, a mighty run- 
ning up and down and looking into dark corners, all 
for naught, — it was clean gone. But the man to 
whom that bright gem had been promised was not one 
easily hoodwinked or baffled. He swore to trace it, 
follow it, find it, and wear it." 

His bold eyes left the Governor, to rest upon the 
woman beside me ; had he pointed to her with his 
hand, he could not have more surely drawn upon her 
the regard of that motley throng. By degrees the 
crowd had fallen back, leaving us three — the King's 
minion, the masquerading lady, and myself — the 
centre of a ring of staring faces ; but now she be- 
came the sole target at which all eyes were directed. 

In Virginia, at this time, the women of our own 
race were held in high esteem. During the first years 
of our planting they were a greater rarity than the 
mocking-birds and flying squirrels, or than that weed 
the eating of which made fools of men. The man 
whose wife was loving and daring enough, or jealous 
enough of Indian maids, to follow him into the wilder- 
ness counted his friends by the score and never lacked 
for company. The first marriage in Virginia was be- 
tween a laborer and a waiting maid, and yet there was 
as great s, 3eal of candy stuff as if it had been the 
nuptials of a lieutenant of the shire. The brother of 


my Lord de la Warre stood up with the groom, the 
brother of my Lord of Northumberland gave away 
the bride and was the first to kiss her, and the Presi- 
dent himself held the caudle to their lips that night. 
Since that wedding there had been others. Gentle- 
women made the Virginia voyage with husband or 
father ; women signed as servants and came over, to 
marry in three weeks' time, the husband paying good 
tobacco for the wife's freedom ; in the cargoes of 
children sent for apprentices there were many girls. 
And last, but not least, had come Sir Edwyn's doves. 
Things had changed since that day — at the memory 
of which men still held their sides — when Madam 
West, then the only woman in the town with youth and 
beauty, had marched down the street to the pillory, 
mounted it, called to her the drummer, and ordered 
him to summon to the square by tuck of drum every 
man in the place. Which done, and the amazed pop- 
ulation at hand, gaping at the spectacle of the wife of 
their commander (then absent from home) pilloried 
before them, she gave command, through the crier, 
that they should take their fill of gazing, whispering, 
and nudging then and there, forever and a day, and 
then should go about their business and give her leave 
to mind her own. 

That day was gone, but men still dropped their 
work to see a woman pass, still cheered when a far- 
thingale appeared over a ship's side, and at church 
still devoted their eyes to other service than staring at 
the minister. In our short but crowded history few 
things had made a greater stir than the coming in of 
Sir Edwyn's maids. They were married now, but 
they were still the observed of all observers ; to be 
pointed out to strangers, run after by children, gaped 


at by the vulgar, bowed to with broad smiles by Bur- 
gess, Couucilor, and commander, and openly con- 
temned by those dames who had attained to a husband 
in somewhat more regular fashion. Of the ninety 
who had arrived two weeks before, the greater num- 
ber had found husbands in the town itself or in the 
neighboring hundreds, so that in the crowd that had 
gathered to withstand the Spaniard, and had stayed 
to welcome the King's favorite, there were farthin- 
gales not a few. 

But there were none like the woman whose hand I 
had kissed in the courting meadow. In the throng, 
that day, in her Puritan dress and amid the crowd of 
meaner beauties, she had passed without overmuch 
comment, and since that day none had seen her save 
Rolfe and the minister, my servants and myself ; and 
when " The Spaniard ! " was cried, men thought of 
other things than the beauty of women ; so that until 
this moment she had escaped any special notice. Now 
all that was changed. The Governor, following the 
pointing of those insolent eyes, fixed his own upon 
her in a stare of sheer amazement ; the gold-laced 
quality about him craned necks, lifted eyebrows, and 
whispered ; and the rabble behind followed their bet- 
ters' example with an emphasis quite their own. 

" Where do you suppose that jewel went, Sir Gov- 
ernor," said the favorite, — " that jewel which was 
overnice to shine at court, which set up its will against 
the King's, which would have none of that one to 
whom it had been given ? " 

" I am a plain man, my lord," replied the Governor 
bluntly. " An it please you, give me plain words." 

My lord laughed, his eyes traveling round the ring 
of greedily intent faces. " So be it, sir," he assented, 
" May I ask who is this lady ? " 


" She came in the Bonaventure," answered the Gov- 
ernor. " She was one of the treasurer's poor maids." 

" With whom I trod a measure at court not long 
ago," said the favorite. " I had to wait for the honor 
until the prince had been gratified." 

The Governor's round eyes grew rounder. Young 
Hamor, a-tiptoe behind him, drew a long, low whistle. 

" In so small a community," went on my lord, 
"sure you must all know one another. There can be 
no masks worn, no false colors displayed. Everything 
must be as open as daylight. But we all have a past as 
well as a present. Now, for instance " — 

I interrupted him. " In Virginia, my lord, we 
live in the present. At present, my lord, I like not 
the color of your lordship's cloak." 

He stared at me, with his black brows drawn 
together. "It is not of your choosing nor for your 
wearing, sir," he rejoined haughtily. 

" And your sword knot is villainously tied," I con- 
tinued. " And I like not such a fh-e-new, bejeweled 
scabbard. Mine, you see, is out at heel." 

" I see," he said dryly. 

" The pinking of your doublet suits me not, either," 
I declared. " I could make it more to my liking," 
and I touched his Genoa three-pile with the point of 
my rapier. 

A loud murmur arose from the crowd, and the Gov- 
ernor started forward, crying out, " Captain Percy ! 
Are you mad?" 

" I was never saner in my life, sir," I answered. 
" French fashions like me not, — that is all, — nor 
Englishmen that wear them. To my thinking such 
are scarcely true-born." 

That thrust went home. All the world knew the 


story of my late Lord Carnal and the waiting woman 
in the service of the French ambassador's wife. A 
gasp of admiration went up from the crowd. My 
lord's rapier was out, the hand that held it shaking 
with passion. I had my blade in my hand, but the 
point was upon the ground. " I '11 lesson you, you 
madman ! " he said thickly. Suddenly, without any 
warning, he thrust at me ; had he been less blind 
with rage, the long score which each was to run up 
against the other might have ended where it began. 
I swerved, and the next instant with my own point 
sent his rapier whirling. It fell at the Gqvernor'3 

" Your lordship may pick it up," I remarked. 
" Your grasp is as firm as your honor, my lord." 

He glared at me, foam upon his lips. Men were 
between us now, — the Governor, Francis West, Mas* 
ter Pory, Hamor, Wynne, — and a babel of excited 
voices arose. The diversion I had aimed to make had 
been made with a vengeance. West had me by the 
arm. " What a murrain is all this coil about, Ralph 
Percy? If you hurt hair of his head, you are lost ! " 

The favorite broke from the Governor's detaining 
hand and conciliatory speech. 

"You '11 fight, sir? " he cried hoarsely. 

" You know that I need not now, my lord," I 

He stamped upon the ground with rage and 
shame ; not true shame for that foul thrust, but shame 
for the sword upon the grass, for that which could be 
read in men's eyes, strive to hide it as they might, 
for the open scorn upon one face. Then, during the 
minute or more in which we faced each other in silence, 
he exerted to some effect that will of which he had 


boasted. The scarlet faded from his face, his frame 
steadied, and he forced a smile. Also he called to his 
aid a certain soldierly, honest-seeming frankness of 
speech and manner which lie could assume at will. 

" Your Virginian sunshine dazzleth the eyes, sir," 
he said. " Of a verity it made me think you on 
guard. Forgive me my mistake." 

I bowed. " Your lordship will find me at your ser- 
vice. I lodge at the minister's house, where your 
lordship's messenger will find me. I am going there 
now with my wife, who hath ridden a score of miles 
this morning and is weary. We give you good-day, 
my lord." 

I bowed to him again and to the Governor, then 
gave my hand to Mistress Percy. The crowd opening 
before us, we passed through it, and crossed the pa- 
rade by the west bulwark. At the further end was a 
bit of rising ground. This we mounted ; then, before 
descending the other side into the lane leading to the 
minister's house, we turned as by one impulse and 
looked back. Life is like one of those endless Italian 
corridors, painted, picture after picture, by a master 
hand ; and man is the traveler through it, taking his 
eyes from one scene but to rest them upon another. 
Some remain a blur in his mind ; some he remembers 
not ; for some he has but to close his eyes and he sees 
them again, line for line, tint for tint, the whole 
spirit of the piece. I close my eyes, and I see the 
sunshine hot and bright, the blue of the skies, the 
.sheen of the river. The sails are white again upon 
boats long lost ; the Santa Teresa, sunk in a fight 
with an Algerine rover two years afterward, rides at 
anchor there forever in the James, her crew in the 
waist and the rigging, her master and his mates cm 


the poop, above them the flag. I see the plain at our 
feet and the crowd beyond, all staring with upturned 
faces ; and standing out from the group of perplexed 
and wondering dignitaries a man in black and scarlet, 
one hand busy at his mouth, the other clenched upon 
the newly restored and unsheathed sword. And I see, 
standing on the green hillock, hand in hand, us two, 
— myself and the woman so near to me, and yet so 
far away that a common enemy seemed our only tie. 

We turned and descended to the green lane and 
the deserted houses. When we were quite hidden 
from those we had left on the bank below the fort, 
she dropped my hand and moved to the other side of 
the lane ; and thus, with never a word to spare, we 
walked sedately on until we reached the minister's 


Waiting for us in the doorway we found Mastei 
Jeremy Sparrow, relieved of his battered armor, his 
face wreathed with hospitable smiles, and a posy in 
his hand. 

" When the Spaniard turned out to be only the 
King's minion, I slipped away to see that all was in 
order," he said genially. " Here are roses, madam, 
that you are not to treat as you did those others." 

She took them from him with a smile, and we went 
into the house to find three fair large rooms, some- 
thing bare of furnishing, but clean and sweet, with 
here and there a bow pot of newly gathered flowers, 
a dish of wardens on the table, and a cool air laden 
with the fragrance of the pine blowing through the 
open window. 

" This is your demesne," quoth the minister. " I 
have worthy Master Bucke's own chamber upstairs. 
Ah, good man, I wish he may quickly recover his 
strength and come back to his own, and so relieve me 
of the burden of all this luxury. I, whom nature 
meant for an eremite, have no business in kings' 
chambers such as these." 

His devout faith in his own distaste for soft living 
and his longings after a hermit's cell was an edifying 
spectacle. So was the evident pride which he took in 
his domain, the complacence with which he pointed 


out the shady, well-stocked garden, and bl&e delight 
with which he produced and set upon the table a huge 
pasty and a flagon of wine. 

" It is a fast day with me," he said. " I may neither 
eat nor drink until the sun goes down. The flesh 
is a strong giant, very full of pride and lust of living, 
and the spirit must needs keep watch and ward, seiz- 
ing every opportunity to mortify and deject its adver- 
sary. Goodwife Allen is still gaping with the crowd 
at the fort, and your man and maid have not yet 
come, but I shall be overhead if you need aught. 
Mistress Percy must want rest after her ride." 

He was gone, leaving us two alone together. She 
stood opposite me, beside the window, from which she 
had not moved since entering the room. The color 
was still in her cheeks, the light in her eyes, and she 
still held the roses with which Sparrow had heaped 
her arms. I was moving to the table. 

" Wait ! " she said, and I turned toward her again. 

"Have you no questions to ask?" she demanded. 

I shook my head. " None, madam." 

" I was the King's ward ! " she cried. 

I bowed, but spoke no word, though she waited 
for me. 

" If you will listen," she said at last, proudly, and 
yet with a pleading sweetness, — " if you will listen, I 
will tell you how it was that I — that I came to wrong 
you so." 

" I am listening, madam," I replied. 

She stood against the light, the roses pressed to her 
bosom, her dark eyes upon me, her head held high. 
" My mother died when I was born ; my father, years 
ago. I was the King's ward. While the Queen lived 
she kept me with her, — she loved me, I think ; and 


,the King too was kind, — would have me sing to him, 
and would talk to me about witchcraft and the Scrip- 
tures, and how rebellion to a king is rebellion to God. 
When I was sixteen, and he tendered me marriage 
with a Scotch lord, I, who loved the gentleman not, 
never having seen him, prayed the King to take the 
value of my marriage and leave me my freedom. He 
was so good to me then that the Scotch lord was wed 
elsewhere, and I danced at the wedding with a mind 
at ease. Time passed, and the King was still my very 
good lord. Then, one black day, my Lord Carnal 
came to court, and the King looked at him oftener 
than at his Grace of Buckingham. A few months, 
and my lord's wish was the King's will. To do this 
new favorite pleasure he forgot his ancient kindness 
of heart ; yea, and he made the law of no account. I 
was his kinswoman, and under my full age ; he would 
give my hand to whom he chose. He chose to give it 
to my Lord Carnal." 

She broke off, and turned her face from me toward 
the slant sunshine without the window. Thus far she 
had spoken quietly, with a certain proud patience of 
voice and bearing ; but as she stood there in a silence 
which I did not break, the memory of her wrongs 
brought the crimson to her cheeks and the anger 
to her eyes. Suddenly she burst forth passionately : 
" The King is the King ! What is a subject's will to 
clash with his ? What weighs a woman's heart against 
his whim? Little cared he that my hand held back, 
grew cold at the touch of that other hand in which he 
would have put it. What matter if my will was 
against that marriage ? It was but the will of a girl, 
and must be broken. All my world was with the 
King ; I, who stood alone, was but a woman, young 


and untaught. Oh, they pressed me sore, they angered 
me to the very heart ! There was not one to fight my 
battle, to help me in that strait, to show me a better 
path than that I took. With all my heart, with all 
my soul, with all my might, I hate that man which 
that ship brought here to-day ! You know what I 
did to escape them all, to escape that man. I fled 
from England in the dress of my waiting maid and 
under her name. I came to Virginia in that guise. 
I let myself be put up, appraised, cried for sale, in 
that meadow yonder, as if I had been indeed the 
piece of merchandise I professed myself. The one 
man who approached me with respect I gulled and 
cheated. I let him, a stranger, give me his name. I 
shelter myself now behind his name. I have foisted 
on him my quarrel. I have — Oh, despise me, if 
you will ! You cannot despise me more than I despise 
myself ! " 

I stood with my hand upon the table and my eyes 
studying the shadow of the vines upon the floor. All 
that she said was perfectly true, and yet — I had a 
vision of a scarlet and black figure and a dark and 
beautiful face. I too hated my Lord Carnal. 

" I do not despise you, madam," I said at last. 
" What was done two weeks ago in the meadow yon- 
der is past recall. Let it rest. What is mine is 
yours : it 's little beside my sword and my name. The 
one is naturally at my wife's service ; for the other, I 
have had some pride in keeping it untarnished. It is 
now in your keeping as well as my own. I do not fear 
to leave it there, madam." 

I had spoken with my eyes upon the garden outside 
the window, but now I looked at her, to see that she 
was trembling in every limb, — trembling so that I 


thought she would fall. I hastened to her. " The 
roses," she said, — " the roses are too heavy. Oh, I 
am tired — and the room goes round." 

I caught her as she fell, and laid her gently upon 
the floor. There was water on the table, and I dashed 
some in her face and moistened her lips ; then turned 
to the door to get woman's help, and ran against 

" I got that bag of bones here at last, sir," he began. 
" If ever I " — His eyes traveled past me, and he 
broke off. 

" Don't stand there staring," I ordered. " Go 
bring the first woman you meet." 

" Is she dead ? " he asked under his breath. " Have 
you killed her ? " 

"Killed her, fool!" I cried. "Have you never 
seen a woman swoon ? " 

" She looks like death," he muttered. " I 
thought " — 

"You thought!" I exclaimed. "You have too 
many thoughts. Begone, and call for help ! " 

" Here is Angela," he said sullenly and without 
offering to move, as, light of foot, soft of voice, ox- 
eyed and docile, the black woman entered the room. 
When I saw her upon her knees beside the motionless 
figure, the head pillowed on her arm, her hand busy 
with the fastenings about throat and bosom, her dark 
face as womanly tender as any English mother's bend- 
ing over her nursling ; and when I saw my wife, with 
a little moan, creep further into the encircling arms, 
I was satisfied. 

" Come away ! " I said, and, followed by Diccon, 
went out and shut the door. 

My Lord Carnal was never one to let the grass 

COME AWAY!" I SAID - jz^t^^ 


grow beneath his feet. An hour later came his cartel, 
borne by no less a personage than the Secretary of the 

I took it from the point of that worthy's rapier. 
It ran thus : " Sir, — At what hour to-morrow and at 
what place do you prefer to die ? And with what f j 
weapon shall I kill you ? " 

" Captain Percy will give me credit for the pro- 
found reluctance with which I act in this affair 
against a gentleman and an officer so high in the es- 
teem of the colony," said Master Pory, with his hand 
upon his heart. " When I tell him that I once fought 
at Paris in a duel of six on the same side with my late 
Lord Carnal, and that when I was last at court my 
Lord Warwick did me the honor to present me to the 
present lord, he will see that I could not well refuse 
when the latter requested my aid." 

"Master Pory's disinterestedness is perfectly well 
known," I said, without a smile. " If he ever chooses 
the stronger side, sure he has strong reasons for so 
doing. He will oblige me by telling his principal that 
I ever thought sunrise a pleasant hour for dying, and 
that there could be no fitter place than the field be- 
hind the church, convenient as it is to the graveyard. 
As for weapons, I have heard that he is a good swords- 
man, but I have some little reputation that way my- 
self. If he prefers pistols or daggers, so be it." 

" I think we may assume the sword," said Master 

I bowed. 

" You '11 bring a friend ? " he asked. 

" I do not despair of finding one," I answered, 
" though my second, Master Secretary, will put him- 
self in some jeopardy." 


" It is combat a outrance, I believe ? " 

" I understand it so." 

" Then we 'd better have Bohun. The survivor may 
need his services." 

" As you please," I replied, " though my man Die- 
con dresses my scratches well enough." 

He bit his lip, but could not hide the twinkle in 
his eye. 

"You are cocksure," he said. " Curiously enough, 
so is my lord. There are no further formalities to 
adjust, I believe? To-morrow at sunrise, behind the 
church, and with rapiers ? " 


He slapped his blade back into its sheath. " Then 
that 's over and done with, for the nonce at least ! 
Sufficient unto the day, etcetera. 'S life ! I 'm hot 
and dry ! You 've sacked cities, Ralph Percy ; now 
sack me the minister's closet and bring out his sher- 
ris. I '11 be at charges for the next communion." 

We sat us down upon the doorstep with a tankard 
of sack between us, and Master Pory drank, and 
drank, and drank again. 

"How's the crop?" he asked. "Martin reports 
it poorer in quality than ever, but Sir George will 
have it that it is very Varinas." 

" It 's every whit as good as the Spanish," I an- 
swered. " You may tell my Lord Warwick so, when 
next you write." 

He laughed. If he was a timeserver and leagued 
with my Lord Warwick's faction in the Company, he 
was a jovial sinner. Traveler and student, much of 
a philosopher, more of a wit, and boon companion to 
any beggar with a pottle of ale, — while the drink 
lasted, — we might look askance at his dealings, but 


we liked his company passing well. If he took half 
a poor rustic's crop for his fee, he was ready enough 
to toss him sixpence for drink money ; and if he made 
the tenants of the lands allotted to his office leave their 
tobacco uncared for whilst they rowed him on his in- 
numerable roving expeditions up creeks and rivers, 
he at least lightened their labors with most side-split- 
ting tales, and with bottle songs learned in a thousand 

" After to-morrow there '11 be more interesting news 
to write," he announced. " You 're a bold man, Cap- 
tain Percy." 

He looked at me out of the corners of his little 
twinkling eyes. I sat and smoked in silence. 

" The King begins to dote upon him," he said ; 
" leans on his arm, plays with his hand, touches his 
cheek. Buckingham stands by, biting his lip, his 
brow like a thundercloud. You '11 find in to-morrow's 
antagonist, Ralph Percy, as potent a conjurer as your 
cousin Hotspur found in Glendower. He '11 conjure 
you up the Tower, and a hanging, drawing, and quar- 
tering;. Who touches the Kind's favorite had safer 
touch the King. It 's lese-majeste you contemplate." 

He lit his pipe and blew out a great cloud of smoke, 
then burst into a roar of laughter. " My Lord High 
Admiral may see you through. Zooks ! there '11 be 
a raree-show worth the penny, behind the church to- 
morrow, — a Percy striving with all his might and 
main to serve a Villiers ! Eureka ! There is some- 
thing new under the sun, despite the Preacher ! " He 
blew out another cloud of smoke. By this the tank- 
ard was empty, and his cheeks were red, his eyes 
moist, and his laughter very ready. 

"Where's the Lady Jocelyn Leigh?" he asked. 


" May I not have the honor to kiss her hand before 
I go?" 

I stared at him. " I do not understand you," I 
said coldly. " There 's none within but Mistress 
Percy. She is weary, and rests after her journey. 
We came from Weyanoke this morning." 

He shook with laughter. " Ay, ay, brave it out ! " 
he cried. " It 's what every man Jack of us said you 
would do ! But all 's known, man ! The Governor 
read the King's letters in full Council an hour ago. 
She 's the Lady Jocelyn Leigh ; she 's a ward of the 
King's; she and her lands are to wed my Lord Car- 
nal ! " 

" She was all that," I replied. " Now she 's my 

" You '11 find that the Court of High Commission 
will not agree with you." 

My rapier lay across my knees, and I ran my hand 
down its worn scabbard. " Here 's one that agrees 
with me," I said. " And up there is Another," and 
I lifted my hat. 

He stared. " God and my good sword ! " he cried. 
" A very knightly dependence, but not to be men- 
tioned nowadays in the same breath with gold and 
the King's favor. Better bend to the storm, man; 
sing low while it roars past. You can swear that you 
did n't know her to be of finer weave than dowlas. 
Oh, they '11 call it in some sort a marriage, for the 
lady's own sake ; but they '11 find flaws enough to 
crack a thousand such mad matches. The divorce is 
the thing ! There 's precedent, you know. A fair 
lady was parted from a brave man not a thousand 
years ago, because a favorite wanted her. True, 
Frances Howard wanted the favorite, whilst this 
beauty of yours " — 


" You will please not couple the name of my wife 
witli the name of that adulteress ! " I interrupted 

He started; then cried out somewhat hurriedly: 
" No offense, no offense ! I meant no comparisons ; 
comparisons are odorous, saith Dogberry. All at 
20urt know the Lady Jocelyn Leigh for a very Brito- - 
mart, a maid as cold as Dian ! " 

I rose, and began to pace up and down the bit of 
green before the door. " Master Pory," I said at 
last, coming to a stop before him, " if, without breach 
of faith, you can tell me what was said or done at the 
Council to-day anent this matter, you will lay me 
under an obligation that I shall not forget." 

He studied the lace on his sleeve in silence for a 
while ; then glanced up at me out of those small, sly, 
merry eyes. " Why," he answered, " the King de- 
mands that the lady be sent home forthwith, on the 
ship that gave us such a turn to-day, in fact, with a 
couple of women to attend her, and under the protec- 
tion of the only other passenger of quality, to wit, my 
Lord Carnal. His Majesty cannot conceive it possi- 
ble that she hath so far forgotten her birth, rank, and 
duty as to have maintained in Virginia this mad mas- 
querade, throwing herself into the arms of any petty 
planter or broken adventurer who hath chanced to 
have an hundred and twenty pounds of filthy tobacco 
with which to buy him a wife. If she hath been so 
mad, she is to be sent home none the less, where she 
will be tenderly dealt with as one surely in this sole 
matter under the spell of witchci-aft. The ship is to 
bring home also — and in irons — the man who mar- 
ried her. If he swears to have been ignorant of her 
quality, and places no straws in the way of the King's 


Commissioners, then shall he be sent honorably back 
to Virginia with enough in his hand to get him an- 
other wife. Per contra, if he erred with open eyes, 
and if he remain contumacious, he will have to deal 
with the King and with the Court of High Commis- 
sion, to say nothing of the King's favorite. That 's 
the sum and substance, Ralph Percy." 

" Why was my Lord Carnal sent ? " I asked. 

" Probably because my Lord Carnal would come. 
He hath a will, hath my Lord, and the King is more 
indulgent than Eli to those upon whom he dotes. 
Doubtless, my Lord High Admiral sped him on his 
way, gave him the King's best ship, wished him a 
favorable wind — to hell." 

" I was not ignorant that she was other than she 
seemed, and I remain contumacious." 

" Then," he said shamelessly, " you '11 forgive me if 
in public, at least, I forswear your company ? You 're 
plague-spotted, Captain Percy, and your friends may 
wish you well, but they must stay at home and burn 
juniper before their own doors." 

" I '11 forgive you," I said, " when you 've told me 
what the Governor will do." 

" Why, there 's the rub," he answered. " Yeardley 
is the most obstinate man of my acquaintance. He 
who at his first coming, beside a great deal of worth 
in his person, brought only his sword hath grown to 
be as very a Sir Oracle among us as ever I saw. It 's 
' Sir George says this,' and ' Sir George says that,' 
and so there 's an end on 't. It 's all because of that 
leave to cut your own throats in your own way that 
he brought you last year. Sir George and Sir Ed- 
wyn ! Zooks ! you had better dub them St. George 
and St. Edwyn at once, and be done with it. Well, on 


this occasion Sir George stands up and says roundly, 
with a good round oath to boot : ' The King's com- 
mands have always come to us through the Company. 
The Company obeys the King ; we obey the Company. 
His Majesty's demand (with reverence I speak it) is 
out of all order. Let the Company, through the trea- 
surer, command us to send Captain Percy home in 
irons to answer for this passing strange offense, or to 
return, willy nilly, the lady who is now surely his wife, 
and we will have no choice but to obey. Until the 
Company commands us we will do nothing ; nay we 
can do nothing.' And every one of my fellow Coun- 
cilors (for myself, I was busy with my pens) saith, 
' My opinion, Sir George.' The upshot of it all is 
that the Due Return is to sail in two days with our 
humble representation to his Majesty that though we 
bow to his lightest word as the leaf bows to the zephyr, 
yet we are, in this sole matter, handfast, compelled by 
his Majesty's own gracious charter to refer our slight- 
est official doing to that noble Company which owes 
its very being to its rigid adherence to the terms of 
said charter. Wherefore, if his Majesty will be gra- 
ciously pleased to command us as usual through the 
said Company — and so on. Of course, not a soul in 
the Council, or in Jamestown, or in Virginia dreams 
of a duel behind the church at sunrise to-morrow." 
He knocked the ashes from his pipe, and by degrees 
got his fat body up from the doorstep. " So there 's 
a reprieve for you, Ralph Percy, unless you kill or 
are killed to-morrow morning. In the latter case, the 
problem 's solved ; in the former, the best service you 
can do yourself, and maybe the Company, is to walk 
out of the world of your own accord, and that as 
quickly as possible. Better a cross-roads and a stake 


through a dead heart than a hangman's hands upon a 
live one." 

" One moment," I said. " Doth my Lord Carnal 
know of this decision of the Governor's ? " 

" Ay, and a fine passion it put him into. Stormed 
and swore and threatened, and put the Governor's 
back up finely. It seems that he thought to 'bout 
ship to-morrow, lady and all. He ref useth to go with- 
out the lady, and so remaineth in Virginia until he 
can have his will. Lord ! but Buckingham would be 
a happy man if he were kept here forever and a day ! 
My lord knows what he risks, and he 's in as black a 
humor as ever you saw. But I have striven to drop 
oil on the troubled waters. ' My lord,' I told him, 
' you have but to possess your soul with patience for 
a few short weeks, just until the ship the Governor 
sends can return. Then all must needs be as your 
lordship wishes. In the meantime, you may find ex- 
istence in these wilds and away from that good com- 
pany which is the soul of life endurable, and perhaps 
pleasant. You may have daily sight of the lady who 
is to become your wife, and that should count for 
much with so ardent and determined a lover as your 
lordship hath shown yourself to be. You may have 
the pleasure of contemplating your rival's grave, if 
you kill him. If he kills you, you will care the less 
about the date of the Santa Teresa's sailing. The 
land, too, hath inducements to offer to a philosophi- 
cal and contemplative mind such as one whom his 
Majesty delighteth to honor must needs possess. Be- 
side these crystal rivers and among these odoriferous 
woods, my lord, one escapes much expense, envy, con- 
tempt, vanity, and vexation of mind.' " 

The hoary sinner laughed and laughed. When he 


had gone away, still in huge enjoyment of his own 
mirth, I, who had seen small cause for mirth, went 
slowly indoors. Not a yard from the door, in the 
shadow of the vines that draped the window, stood the 
woman who was bringing this fate upon me. 

" I thought that you were in your own room," I 
said harshly, after a moment of dead silence. 

" I came to the window," she replied. " I listened. 
I heard all." She spoke haltingly, through dry lips. 
Her face was as white as her ruff, but a strange light 
burned in her eyes, and there was no trembling. 
" This morning you said that all that you had — your 
name and your sword — were at my service. You 
may take them both again, sir. I refuse the aid you 
offer. Swear what you will, tell them what you 
please, make your peace whilst you may. I will not 
have your blood upon my soul." 

There was yet wine upon the table. I filled a cup 
and brought it to her. " Drink ! " I commanded. 

" I have much of forbearance, much of courtesy, 
to thank you for," she said. " I will remember it 
when — ■ Do not think that I shall blame you " — 

I held the cup to her lips. " Drink ! " I repeated. 
She touched the red wine with her lips. I took it 
from her and put it to my own. " We drink of the 
same cup," I said, with my eyes upon hers, and 
drained it to the bottom. " I am weary of swords 
and courts and kings. Let us go into the garden and 
watch the minister's bees." 



Rolfe, coming down by boat from Varina, had 
reached the town in the dusk of that day which had 
seen the arrival of the Santa Teresa, and I had gone 
to him before I slept that night. Early morning 
found us together again in the field behind the church. 
We had not long to wait in the chill air and dew- 
drenched grass. When the red rim of the sun showed 
like a fire between the trunks of the pines came my 
Lord Carnal, and with him Master Pory and Dr. 
Lawrence Bohun. 

My lord and I bowed to each other profoundly. 
Rolfe with my sword and Master Pory with my lord's 
stepped aside to measure the blades. Dr. Bohun, 
muttering something about the feverishness of the 
early air, wrapped his cloak about him, and huddled 
in among the roots of a gigantic cedar. I stood with 
my back to the church, and my face to the red water 
between us and the illimitable forest ; my lord oppo- 
site me, six feet away. He was dressed again splen- 
didly in black and scarlet, colors he much affected, 
and, with the dark beauty of his face and the arro- 
gant grace with which he stood there waiting for his 
sword, made a picture worth looking upon. 

Rolfe and the Secretary came back to us. " If you 
kill him, Ralph," said the former in a low voice, as 


he took my doublet from me, " you are to put your- 
self in my hands and do as you are bid." 

" Which means that you will try to smuggle me 
north to the Dutch. Thanks, friend, but I '11 see the 
play out here." 

"You were ever obstinate, self-willed, reckless — 
and the man most to my heart," he continued. " Have 
your way, in God's name, but I wish not to see what 
will come of it ! All 's ready, Master Secretary." 

Very slowly that worthy stooped down and exam- 
ined the ground, narrowly and quite at his leisure. 
" I like it not, Master Rolfe," he declared at length. 
" Here is a molehill, and there a fairy ring." 

" I see neither," said Rolfe. " It looks as smooth 
as a table. But we can easily shift under the cedars 
where there is no grass." 

" Here 's a projecting root," announced the Secre- 
tary, when the new ground had been reached. 

Rolfe shrugged his shoulders, but we moved again. 

" The light comes jaggedly through the branches," 
objected my lord's second. "Better try the open 

Rolfe uttered an exclamation of impatience, and 
my lord stamped his foot on the ground. " What is 
this foolery, sir?" the latter cried fiercely. "The 
ground 's well enough, and there 's sufficient light to 
die by." 

" Let the light pass, then," said his second resign- 
edly. " Gentlemen, are you read — Ods blood ! my 
lord, I had not noticed the roses upon your lordship's 
shoes ! They are so large and have such a fall that 
they sweep the ground on either side your foot ; you 
might stumble in all that dangling ribbon and lace. 
Allow ine to remove them." 


He unsheathed his knife, and, sinking upon his 
knees, began leisurely to sever the threads that held 
the roses to the leather. As he worked, he looked 
neither at the roses nor at my lord's angry face, but 
beneath his own bent arm toward the church and the 
town beyond. 

How long he would have sawed away at the threads 
there is no telling ; for my lord, amongst whose virtues 
patience was not one, broke from him, and with an 
oath stooped and tore away the offending roses with 
his own hand, then straightened himself and gripped 
his sword more closely. " I 've learned one thing in 
this d — d land," he snarled, " and that is where not 
to choose a second. You, sir," to Eolfe, "give the 

Master Pory rose from his knees, unruffled and 
unabashed, and still with a curiously absent expres- 
sion upon his fat face and with his ears cocked in the 
direction of the church. " One moment, gentlemen," 
he said. " I have just bethought me " — 

" On guard ! " cried Rolfe, and cut him short. 

The King's favorite was no mean antagonist. Once 
or twice the thought crossed my mind that here, where 
I least desired it, I had met my match. The appre- 
hension passed. He fought as he lived, with a fierce 
intensity, a headlong passion, a brute force, bearing 
down and overwhelming most obstacles. But that I 
could tire him out I soon knew. 

The incessant flash and clash of steel, the quick 
changes in position, the need to bring all powers of 
body and mind to aid of eye and wrist, the will to 
win, the shame of loss, the rage and lust of blood, 
— there was no sight or sound outside that trampled 
circle that could force itself upon our brain or make 


us glance aside. If there was a sudden commotion 
amongst the three witnesses, if an expression of im- 
mense relief and childlike satisfaction reigned in 
Master Pory's face, we knew it not. We were both 
bleeding, — I from a pin prick on the shoulder, he 
from a touch beneath the arm. He made a desperate 
thrust, which I parried, and the blades clashed. A 
third came down upon them with such force that the 
sparks flew. 

" In the King's name ! " commanded the Governor. 

We fell apart, panting, white with rage, staring at 
the unexpected disturbers of our peace. They were 
the Governor, the commander, the Cape Merchant, 
and the watch. 

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace ! " exclaimed Master Pory, and retired to the 
cedar and Dr. Bohun. 

"This ends here, gentlemen," said the Governor 
firmly. "You are both bleeding. It is enough." 

" Out of my way, sir ! " cried my lord, foaming at 
the mouth. He made a mad thrust over the Govern- 
or's extended arm at me, who was ready enough to 
meet him. " Have at thee, thou bridegroom ! " he 
said between his teeth. 

The Governor caught him by the wrist. " Put up 
your sword, my lord, or, as I stand here, you shall 
give it into the commander's hands ! " 

" Hell and furies ! " ejaculated my lord. " Do you 
know who I am, sir ? " 

" Ay," replied the Governor sturdily, " I do know. 
It is because of that knowledge, my Lord Carnal, that 
I interfere in this affair. Were you other than you 
are, you and this gentleman might fight until dooms- 
day, and meet with no hindrance from me. Being 


what you are, I will prevent any renewal of this duel, 
by fair means if I may, by foul if I must." 

He left my lord, and came over to me. " Since 
when have you been upon my Lord Warwick's side, 
Ralph Percy ? " he demanded, lowering his voice. 

" I am not so," I said. 

" Then appearances are mightily deceitful," he re- 

" I know what you mean, Sir George," I answered. 
" I know that if the King's darling should meet death 
or maiming in this fashion, upon Virginian soil, the 
Company, already so out of favor, might find some 
difficulty in explaining things to his Majesty's satis- 
faction. But I think my Lord Southampton and Sir 
Edwyn Sandys and Sir George Yeardley equal to 
the task, especially if they are able to deliver to his 
Majesty the man whom his Majesty will doubtless con- 
sider the true and only rebel and murderer. Let us 
fight it out, sir. You can all retire to a distance and 
remain in profound ignorance of any such affair. 
If I fall, you have nothing to fear. If he falls, — 
why, I shall not run away, and the Due Return sails 

He eyed me closely from under frowning brows. 

" And when your wife 's a widow, what then ? " he 
asked abruptly. 

I have not known many better men than this simple, 
straightforward, soldierly Governor. The manliness 
of his character begot trust, invited confidence. Men 
told him of their hidden troubles almost against their 
will, and afterward felt neither shame nor fear, know- 
ing the simplicity of his thoughts and the reticence of 
his speech. I looked him in the eyes, and let him 
read what I would have shown to no other, and felt no 


shame. " The Lord may raise her up a helper," I 
said. " At least she won't have to marry him.'''' 

He turned on his heel and moved back to his 
former station between us two. " My Lord Carnal," 
he said, " and you, Captain Percy, heed what I say ; 
for what I say I will do. You may take your choice : 
either you will sheathe your swords here in my pre- 
sence, giving me your word of honor that you will not 
draw them upon each other before his Majesty shall 
have made known his will in this matter to the Com- 
pany, and the Company shall have transmitted it to 
me, in token of which truce between you you shall 
touch each other's hands ; or you will pass the time 
between this and the return of the ship with the King's 
and the Company's will in strict confinement, — you, 
Captain Percy, in gaol, and you, my Lord Carnal, in 
my own poor house, where I will use my best endea- 
vors to make the days pass as pleasantly as possible 
for your lordship. I have spoken, gentlemen." 

There was no protest. For my own part, I knew 
Yeardley too well to attempt any ; moreover, had I 
been in his place, his course should have been mine. 
For my Lord Carnal, — what black thoughts visited 
that fierce and sullen brain I know not, but there was 
acquiescence in his face, haughty, dark, and vengeful 
though it was. Slowly and as with one motion we 
sheathed our swords, and more slowly still repeated 
the few words after the Governor. His Honor's coun- 
tenance shone with relief. " Take each other by the 
hand, gentlemen, and then let 's all to breakfast at 
my own house, where there shall be no feud save with 
good capon pasty and jolly good ale." In dead silence 
my lord and I touched each other's finger tips. 

The world was now a flood of sunshine, the mist on 


the river vanishing, the birds singing, the trees waving 
in the pleasant morning air. From the town came 
the roll of the drum summoning all to the week-day 
service. The bells too began to ring, sounding sweetly 
through the clear air. The Governor took off his hat. 
" Let 's all to church, gentlemen," he said gravely. 
" Our cheeks are flushed as with a fever and our 
pulses run high this morning. There be some among 
us, perhaps, that have in their hearts discontent, anger, 
and hatred. I know no better place to take such pas- 
sions, provided we bring them not forth again." 
• We went in and sat down. Jeremy Sparrow was 
in the pulpit. Singly or in groups the town folk 
entered. Down the aisle strode bearded men, old 
soldiers, adventurers, sailors, scarred body and soul ; 
young men followed, younger sons and younger bro- 
thers, prodigals whose portion had been spent, whose 
souls now ate of the husks ; to the servants' benches 
came dull laborers, dimly comprehending, groping in 
the twilight ; women entered softly and slowly, some 
with children clinging to their skirts. One came alone 
and knelt alone, her face shadowed by her mantle. 
Amongst the servants stood a slave or two, blindly 
staring, and behind them all one of that felon crew 
sent us by the King. 

Through the open windows streamed the summer 
sunshine, soft and fragrant, impartial and unquestion- 
ing, caressing alike the uplifted face of the minister, 
the head of the convict, and all between. The min- 
ister's voice was grave and tender when he read and 
prayed, but in the hymn it rose above the people's 
like the voice of some mighty archangel. That tri- 
umphant singing shook the air, and still rang in the 
heart while we said the Creed. 


When the service was over, the congregation waited 
for the Governor to pass out first. At the door he 
pressed me to go with him and his party to his own 
house, and I gave him thanks, but made excuse to stay 
away. When he and the nobleman who was his guest 
had left the churchyard, and the townspeople too were 
gone, I and my wife and the minister walked home 
together through the dewy meadow, with the splendor 
of the morning about us, and the birds caroling from 
every tree and thicket. 



The summer slipped away, and autumn came, with 
the purple of the grape and the yellowing corn, the 
nuts within the forest, and the return of the countless 
wild fowl to the marshes and reedy river banks, and 
still I stayed in Jamestown, and my wife with me, 
and still the Santa Teresa rode at anchor in the river 
below the fort. If the man whom she brought knew 
that by tarrying in Virginia he risked his ruin with 
the King, yet, with a courage worthy of a better 
cause, he tarried. 

Now and then ships came in, but they were small, 
belated craft. The most had left England before the 
sailing of the Santa Teresa ; the rest, private ventures, 
trading for clapboard or sassafras, knew nothing of 
court affairs. Only the Sea Flower, sailing from 
London a fortnight after the Santa Teresa, and much 
delayed by adverse winds, brought a letter from the 
deputy treasurer to Yeardley and the Council. From 
iiolfe I learned its contents. It spoke of the stir that 
vvas made by the departure from the realm of th« 
King's favorite. " None know where he hath gone. 
The King looks dour; 't is hinted that the privy coun- 
cil are as much at sea as the rest of the world ; my 
Lord of Buckingham saith nothing, but his following 
— which of late hath somewhat decayed — is so in- 
creased that his antechambers cannot hold the throngs 



that come to wait upon him. Some will have it that 
my Lord Carnal hath fled the kingdom to escape the 
Tower ; others, that the King hath sent him on a mis- 
sion to the King of Spain about this detested Spanish 
match ; others, that the gadfly hath stung him and he 
is gone to America, — to search for Raleigh's gold 
mine, maybe. This last most improbable ; but if 't is 
so, and he should touch at Virginia, receive him with 
all honor. If indeed he is not out of favor, the Com- 
pany may find in him a powerful friend ; of powerful 
enemies, God knows, there is no lack ! " 

Thus the worthy Master Ferrar. And at the bot- 
tom of the letter, among other news of city and court, 
mention was made of the disappearance of a ward of 
the King's, the Lady Jocelyn Leigh. Strict search 
had been made, but the unfortunate lady had not been 
found. " 'T is whispered that she hath killed herself ; 
also, that his Majesty had meant to give her in mar- 
riage to my Lord Carnal. But that all true love and 
virtue and constancy have gone from the age, one 
might conceive that the said lord had but fled the 
court for a while, to indulge his grief in some solitude 
of hill and stream and shady vale, — the lost lady 
being right worthy of such dole." 

In sooth she was, but my lord was not given to such 
fashion of mourning. 

The summer passed, and I did nothing. What 
was there I could do? I had written by the Due 
Ueturn to Sir Edwyn, and to my cousin, the Earl 
of Northumberland. The King hated Sir Edwyn as 
he hated tobacco and witchcraft. " Choose the devil, 
but not Sir Edwyn Sandys ! " had been his passionate 
words to the Company the year before. A certain 
fifth of November had despoiled my Lord of Northum- 


berland of wealth, fame, and influence. Small hope 
there was in those two. That the Governor and 
Council, remembering old dangers shared, wished me 
well I did not doubt, but that was all. Yeardley had 
done all he could do, more than most men would have 
dared to do, in procuring this delay. There was no 
further help in him ; nor would I have asked it. Al- 
ready out of favor with the Warwick faction, he had 
risked enough for me and mine. I could not flee 
with my wife to the Indians, exposing her, perhaps, 
to a death by fierce tortures ; moreover, Opechanca- 
nough had of late strangely taken to returning to the 
settlements those runaway servants and fugitives from 
justice which before we had demanded from him in 
vain. If even it had been possible to run the gaunt- 
let of the Indian villages, war parties, and hunting 
bands, what would have been before us but endless 
forest and a winter which for us would have had no 
spring ? I could not see her die of hunger and cold, 
or by the teeth of the wolves. I could not do what 
I should have liked to do, — take, single-handed, that 
King's ship with its sturdy crew and sail with her 
south and ever southwards, before us nothing more 
formidable than Spanish ships, and beyond them blue 
waters, spice winds, new lands, strange islands of the 

There seemed naught that I could do, naught that 
she could do. Our Fate had us by the hands, and 
held us fast. We stood still, and the days came and 
went like dreams. 

While the Assembly was in session I had my part 
to act as Burgess from my hundred. Each day I 
sat with my fellows in the church, facing the Gov- 
ernor in his great velvet chair, the Council on either 


hand, and listened to the droning of old Twine, the 
clerk, like the droning of the bees without the win- 
dow ; to the chant of the sergeant-at-arms ; to long 
and windy discourses from men who planted better 
than they spoke ; to remarks by the Secretary, witty, 
crammed with Latin and traveled talk ; to the Gov- 
ernor's slow, weighty words. At Weyanoke we had 
had trouble with the Indians. I was one who loved 
them not and had fought them well, for which rea- 
son the hundred chose me its representative. In the 
Assembly it was my part to urge a greater severity 
toward those n nr natural enemies^ a, greater watch- 
fulness on our part, the need for palisades and senti- 
nels, the danger that lay in their acquisition of fire- 
arms, which, in defiance of the law, men gave them 
in exchange for worthless Indian commodities. This 
Indian business was the chief matter before the As- 
sembly. I spoke when I thought speech was needed, 
and spoke strongly ; for my heart foreboded that 
which was to come upon us too soon and too surely. 
The Governor listened gravely, nodding his head ; 
Master Pory, too, the Cape Merchant, and West were 
of my mind ; but the remainder were besotted by 
their own conceit, esteeming the very name of Eng- 
lishman sentinel and palisade enough, or trusting in 
the smooth words and vows of brotherhood poured 
forth so plentifully by that red Apollyon, Opechan- 

When the day's work was done, and we streamed 
out of the church, — the Governor and Council first, 
the rest of us in order, — it was to find as often as 
not a red and black figure waiting for us among the 
graves. Sometimes it joined itself to the Governor, 
sometimes to Master Pory ; sometimes the whole party, 


save one, went off with it to the guest house, there to 
eat, drink, and make merry. 

If Virginia and all that it contained, save only that 
jewel of which it had robbed the court, were out of 
favor with the King's minion, he showed it not. Per- 
haps he had accepted the inevitable with a good 
grace ; perhaps it was but his mode of biding his 
time ; but he had shifted into that soldierly frankness 
of speech and manner, that genial, hail-fellow-well- 
met air, behind which most safely hides a villain's 
mind. Two daj 7 s after that morning behind the 
church, he had removed himself, his French valets, 
and his Italian physician from the Governor's house 
to the newly finished guest house. Here he lived, 
cock of the walk, taking his ease in his inn, elbowing 
out all guests save those of his own inviting. If, 
what with his open face and his open hand, his din- 
ners and bear-baitings and hunting parties, his talef 
of the court and the wars, his half hints as to the 
good he might do Virginia with the King, extending 
even to the lightening of the tax upon our tobacco 
and the prohibition of the Spanish import, his known 
riches and power, and the unknown height to which 
they might attain if his star at court were indeed in 
the ascendant, — if with these things he slowly, but 
surely, won to his following all save a very few of 
those I had thought my fast friends, it was not a thing 
marvelous or without precedent. Upon his side was 
good that might be seen and handled ; on mine was 
only a dubious right and a not at all dubious danger. 
I do not think it plagued me much. The going of 
those who had it in their heart to wish to go left 
me content, and for those who fawned upon him from 
the first, or for the rabble multitude who flung up 


their caps and ran at his heels, I cared not a doit. 
There were still Rolfe and West and the Governor, 
Jeremy Sparrow and Diccon. 

My lord and I met, perforce, in the street, at the 
Governor's house, in church, on the river, in the sad- 
dle. If we met in the presence of others, we spoke 
the necessary formal words of greeting or leave-tak- 
ing, and he kept his countenance ; if none were by, 
off went the mask. The man himself and I looked 
each other in the eyes and passed on. Once we en- 
countered on a late evening among the graves, and I 
was not alone. Mistress Percy had been restless, and 
had gone, despite the minister's protests, to sit upon 
the river bank. When I returned from the assembly 
and found her gone, I went to fetch her. A storm 
was rolling slowly up. Returning the long way through 
the churchyard, we came upon him sitting beside a 
sunken grave, his knees drawn up to meet his chin, 
his eyes gloomily regardful of the dark broad river, 
the unseen ocean, and the ship that could not return 
for weeks to come. We passed him in silence, — I 
with a slight bow, she with a slighter curtsy. An 
hour later, going down the street in the dusk of the 
storm, I ran against Dr. Lawrence Bohun. " Don't 
stop me ! " he panted. " The Italian doctor is away 
in the woods gathering simples, and they found my 
Lord Carnal in a fit among the graves, half an hour 
agone." My lord was bled, and the next morning 
went hunting. 

The lady whom I had married abode with me in the 
minister's house, held her head high, and looked the 
world in the face. She seldom went from home, but 
when she did take the air it was with pomp and cir- 
cumstance. When that slender figure and exquisite 


face, set oft" by as rich apparel as could be bought 
from a store of finery brought in by the Southampton, 
and attended by a turbaned negress and a serving 
man who had been to the wars, and had escaped the 
wheel by the skin of his teeth, appeared in the street, 
small wonder if a greater commotion arose than had 
been since the days of the Princess Pocahontas and 
her train of dusky beauties. To this fairer, more 
imperial dame gold lace doffed its hat and made its 
courtliest bow, and young planters bent to their sad- 
dlebows, while the common folk nudged and stared 
and had their say. The beauty, the grace, the pride, 
that deigned small response to well-meant words, — 
all that would have been intolerable in plain Mistress 
Percy, once a waiting maid, then a piece of merchan- 
dise to be sold for one hundred and twenty pounds 
of tobacco, then the wife of a poor gentleman, was 
pardoned readily enough to the Lady Jocelyn Leigh, 
the ward of the King, the bride to be (so soon as 
the King's Court of High Commission should have 
snapped in twain an inconvenient and ill-welded fet- 
ter) of the King's minion. 

So she passed like a splendid vision through the 
street perhaps once a week. On Sundays she went 
with me to church, and the people looked at her 
instead of at the minister, who rebuked them not, 
because his eyes were upon the same errand. 

The early autumn passed and the leaves began 
to turn, and still all things were as they had been, 
save that the Assembly sat no longer. My fellow Bur- 
gesses went back to their hundreds, but my house at 
Weyanoke knew me no more. In a tone that was 
apologetic, but firm, the Governor had told me that 
he wished my company at Jamestown. I was pleased 


enough to stay, I assured him, — as indeed I was. At 
Weyanoke, the thunderbolt would fall without warn- 
ing; at Jamestown, at least I could see, coming up 
the river, the sails of the Due Return or what other 
ship the Company might send. 

The color of the leaves deepened, and there came a 
season of a beauty singular and sad, like a smile left 
upon the face of the dead summer. Over all things, 
near and far, the forest where it met the sky, the 
nearer woods, the great river, and the streams that 
empty into it, there hung a blue haze, soft and dream- 
like. The forest became a painted forest, with an 
ever thinning canopy and an ever thickening carpet 
of crimson and gold ; everywhere there was a low 
rustling underfoot and a slow rain of color. It was 
neither cold nor hot, but very quiet, and the birds 
went by like shadows, — a listless and forgetful 
weather, in which we began to look, every hour of 
every day, for the sail which we knew we should not 
see for weeks to come. 

Good Master Bucke tarried with Master Thorpe at 
Henricus, recruiting his strength, and Jeremy Spar- 
row preached in his pulpit, slept in his chamber, and 
worked in his garden. This garden ran down to the 
green bank of the river ; and here, sitting idly by the 
stream, her chin in her hand and her dark eyes watch- 
ing the strong, free sea birds as they came and went, 
I found my wife one evening, as I came from the fort, 
where had been some martial exercise. Thirty feet 
away Master Jeremy Sparrow worked among the dy- 
ing flowers, and hummed : — 

" There is a garden in her face, 
Where roses and white lilies grow." 

He and 1 had agreed that when I must needs be ab- 


sent he should be within call of her ; for I believed 
ray Lord Carnal very capable of intruding himself 
into her presence. That house and garden, her move- 
ments and mine, were spied upon by his foreign hire- 
lings, I knew perfectly well. 

As I sat down upon the bank at her feet, she turned 
to me with a sudden passion. " I am weary of it all ! " 
she cried. " I am tired of being pent up in this house 
and garden, and of the watch you keep upon me. 
And if I go abroad, it is worse ! I hate all those 
shameless faces that stare at me as if I were in the 
pillory. I am. pilloried before you all, and I find the 
experience sufficiently bitter. And when I think that 
that man whom I hate, hate, hate, breathes the air 
that I breathe, it stifles me ! If I could fly away like 
those birds, if I could only be gone from this place 
for even a day ! " 

" I would beg leave to take you home, to Weya- 
noke," I said after a pause, " but I cannot go and 
leave the field to him." 

" And I cannot go," she answered. " I must watch 
for that ship and that King's command that my Lord 
Carnal thinks potent enough to make me his wife. 
King's commands are strong, but a woman's will is 
stronger. At the last I shall know what to do. But 
now why may I not take Angela and cross that strip 
of sand and go into the woods on the other side? 
They are so fair and strange, — all red and yellow, — 
and they look very still and peaceful. I could walk 
in them, or lie down under the trees and forget 
awhile, and they are not at all far away." She looked 
at me eagerly. 

" You could not go alone," I told her. " There 
would be danger in that. But to-morrow, if you 


choose, I and Master Sparrow and Diccon will take 
you there. A day in the woods is pleasant enough, 
and will do none of us harm. Then you may wander 
as you please, fill your arms with colored leaves, and j 
forget the world. We will watch that no harm comes 
nigh you, but otherwise you shall not be disturbed." 

She broke into delighted laughter. Of all women 
the most steadfast of soul, her outward moods were 
as variable as a child's. " Agreed ! " she cried. 
" You and the minister and Diccon Demon shall lay 
your muskets across your knees, and Angela shall 
witch you into stone with her old, mad, heathen 
charms. And then — and then — I will gather more 
gold than had King Midas ; I will dance with the 
hamadryads ; I will find out Oberon and make Titania 
jealous ! " 

" I do not doubt that you could do so," I said, as 
she sprang to her feet, childishly eager and radiantly 

I rose to go in with her, for it was supper time, but 
in a moment changed my mind, and resumed my seat 
on the bank of turf. " Do you go in," I said. 
" There 's a snake near by, in those bushes below the 
bank. I '11 kill the creature, and then I '11 come to 

When she was gone, I walked to where, ten feet 
away, the bank dipped to a clump of reeds and willows 
planted in the mud on the brink of the river. Drop- 
ping on my knees I leaned over, and, grasping a man 
by the collar, lifted him from the slime where he 
belonged to the bank beside me. 

It was my Lord Carnal's Italian doctor that I had 
so fished up. I had seen him before, and had found 
in his very small, mean figure clad all in black, and 



his narrow face with malignant eyes, and thin white 
lips drawn tightly over gleaming teeth, something 
infinitely repulsive, sickening to the sight as are cer- 
tain reptiles to the touch. 

" There are no simples or herbs of grace to be 
found amongst reeds and half-drowned willows," I 
said. " What did So learned a doctor look for in so 
unlikely a place ? " 

He shrugged his shoulders and made play with his 
clawlike hands, as if he understood me not. It was 
a lie, for I knew that he and the English tongue were 
sufficiently acquainted. I told him as much, and he 
shot at me a most venomous glance, but continued to 
shrug, gesticulate, and jabber in Italian. At last I 
saw nothing better to do than to take him, still by the 
collar, to the edge of the garden next the churchyard, 
and with the toe of my boot to send him tumbling 
among the graves. I watched him pick himself up, 
set his attire to rights, and go away in the gathering 
dusk, winding in and out among the graves ; and then 
I went in to supper, and told Mistress Percy that the 
snake was dead. 



Shortly before daybreak I was wakened by a voice 
beneath my window. " Captain Percy," it cried, " the 
Governor wishes you at his house ! " and was gone. 

I dressed and left the house, disturbing no one. 
Hurrying through the chill dawn, I reached the square 
not much behind the rapid footsteps of the watch 
who had wakened me. About the Governor's door 
were horses, saddled and bridled, with grooms at their 
heads, men and beasts gray and indistinct, wrapped 
in the fog. I went up the steps and into the hall, 
and knocked at the door of the Governor's great 
room. It opened, and I entered to find Sir George, 
with Master Pory, Rolfe, West, and others of the 
Council gathered about the great centre table and 
talking eagerly. Tho Governor was but half dressed ; 
West and Rolfe were in jack boots and coats of mail. 
A man, breathless with hard riding, spattered with 
swamp mud and torn by briers, stood, cap in hand, 
staring from one to the other. 

" In good time, Captain Percy ! " cried the Gov- 
ernor. "Yesterday you called the profound peace 
with the Indians, of which some of us boasted, the lull 
before the storm. Faith, it looks to-day as though 
you were in the right, after all ! " 

" What 's the matter, sir ? " I asked, advancing to 
the table. 


" Matter enough ! " he answered. " This man has 
come, post haste, from the plantations above Paspa- 
hegh. Three days ago, Morgan, the trader, was de- 
coyed into the woods by that Paspahegh fool and bully, 
Nemattanow, whom they call Jack of the Feather, 
and there murdered. Yesterday, out of sheer bravado, 
the Indian turned up at Morgan's house, and Mor- 
gan's men shot him down. They buried the dog, and 
thought no more of it. Three hours ago, Chanco the 
Christian went to the commander and warned him 
that the Paspaheghs were in a ferment, and that the 
warriors were painting themselves black. The com- 
mander sent off at once to me, and I see naught better 
to do than to dispatch you with a dozen men to bring 
them to their senses. But there 's to be no harrying 
nor battle. A show of force is all that 's needed, — 
I '11 stake my head upon it. Let them see that we 
are not to be taken unawares, but give them fair 
words. That they may be the sooner placated I send 
with you Master Rolfe, — they '11 listen to him. See 
that the black paint is covered with red, give them 
some beads and a knife or two, then come home. If 
you like not the look of things, find out where 
Opechancanough is, and I '11 send him an embassy. 
He loves us well, and will put down any disaffection." 

" There 's no doubt that he loves us," I said dryly. 
" He loves us as a cat loves the mouse that it plays 
with. If we are to start at once, sir, I '11 go get my 

" Then meet us at the neck of land," said Rolfe. 

I nodded, and left the room. As I descended the 
steps into the growing light outside, I found Master 
Pory at my side. 

" I kept late hours last night," he remarked, with a 


portentous yawn. " Now that this business is settled, 
I '11 go back to bed." 

I walked on in silence. 

" I am in your black books," he continued, with 
his sly, merry, sidelong glance. "You think that I 
was overcareful of the ground, that morning behind 
the church, and so unfortunately delayed matters 
until the Governor happened by and brought things 
to another guess conclusion." 

" I think that you warned the Governor," I said 

He shook with laughter. " Warned him ? Of 
course I warned him. Youth would never have seen 
that molehill and fairy ring and projecting root, but 
wisdom cometh with gray hairs, my son. D' ye not 
think I '11 have the King's thanks? " 

" Doubtless," I answered. " An the price contents 
you, I do not know why I should quarrel with it." 

By this we were halfway down the street, and we 
now came upon the guest house. A window above 
us was unshuttered, and in the room within a light 
still burned. Suddenly it was extinguished. A man's 
face looked down upon us for a moment, then drew 
back ; a skeleton hand was put out softly and slowly, 
and the shutter drawn to. Hand and face belonged 
to the man I had sent tumbling among the graves the 
evening before. 

" The Italian doctor," said Master Pory. 

There was something peculiar in his tone. I 
glanced at him, but his broad red face and twin- 
kling eyes told me nothing. " The Italian doctor," 
he repeated. " If I had a friend in Captain Percy's 
predicament, I should bid him beware of the Italian 


" Your friend would be obliged for the warning," 
I replied. 

We walked a little further. "And I think," he 
said, " that I should inform this purely hypothetical 
friend of mine that the Italian and his patron had 
their heads mighty close together, last night." 

"Last night?" 

" Ay, last night. I went to drink with my lord, 
and so broke up their tete-a-tete. My lord was bois- 
terous in his cups and not oversecret. He dropped 
some hints " — He broke off to indulge in one of his 
endless silent laughs. " I don't know why I tell you 
this, Captain Percy. I am on the other side, you 
know, — quite on the other side. But now I bethink 
me, I am only telling you what I should tell you were 
I upon your side. There 's no harm in that, I hope, 
no disloyalty to my Lord Carnal's interests which 
happen to be my interests ? " 

I made no answer. I gave him credit both for his 
ignorance of the very hornbook of honor and for his 
large share of the milk of human kindness. 

" My lord grows restive," he said, when we had 
gone a little further. " The Francis and John, com- 
ing in yesterday, brought court news. Out of sight, 
out of mind. Buckingham is making hay while the 
sun shines. Useth angel water for his complexion, 
sleepeth in a medicated mask such as the Valois used, 
and is grown handsomer than ever ; changeth the 
fashion of his clothes thrice a week, which mightily 
pleaseth his Majesty. Whoops on the Spanish match, 
too, and, wonderful past all whooping, from the 
prince's detestation hath become his bosom friend. 
Small wonder if my Lord Carnal thinks it 's time he 
was back at Whitehall." 


" Let him go, then," I said. " There 's his ship 
that brought him here." 

" Ay, there 's his ship," rejoined Master Pory. " A 
few weeks more, and the Due Return will be here 
with the Company's commands. D' ye think, Cap- 
tain Percy, that there 's the slightest doubt as to their 
tenor ? " 

" No." 

" Then my lord has but to possess his soul with 
patience and wait for the Due Return. No doubt 
he '11 do so." 

" No doubt he '11 do so," I echoed. 

By this we had reached the Secretary's own door. 
* ( Fortune favor you with the Paspaheghs ! " he said, 
with another mighty yawn. " As for me, I '11 to bed. 
Do you ever dream, Captain Percy ? I don't ; mine 
is too good a conscience. But if I did, I should 
dream of an Italian doctor." 

The door shut upon his red face and bright eyes. 
I walked rapidly on down the street to the minister's 
house. The light was very pale as yet, and house 
and garden lay beneath a veil of mist. No one was 
stirring. I went on through the gray wet paths to 
the stable, and roused Diccon. 

" Saddle Black Lamoral quickly," I ordered. 
" There 's trouble with the Paspaheghs, and I am off 
with Master Rolfe to settle it." 

" Am I to go with you ? " he asked. 

I shook my head. " We have a dozen men. 
There 's no need of more." 

I left him busy with the horse, and went to the 
house. In the hall I found the negress strewing the 
floor with fresh rushes, and asked her if her mistress 
yet slept. In her soft half English, half Spanish, she 


answered in the affirmative. I went to my own room 
and armed myself ; then ran upstairs to the comfort- 
able chamber where abode Master Jeremy Sparrow, 
surrounded by luxuries which his soul contemned. 
He was not there. At the foot of the stair I was 
met by Goodwife Allen. " The minister was called 
an hour ago, sir," she announced. " There 's a man 
dying of the fever at Archer's Hope, and they sent a 
boat for him. He won't be back until afternoon." 

I hurried past her back to the stable. Black La- 
moral was saddled, and Diccon held the stirrup for 
me to mount. 

" Good luck with the vermin, sir ! " he said. " I 
wish I were going, too." 

His tone was sullen, yet wistful. I knew that he 
loved danger as I loved it, and a sudden remembrance 
of the dangers we had faced together brought us 
nearer to each other than we had been for many a day. 

" I don't take you," I explained, " because I have 
need of you here. Master Sparrow has gone to watch 
beside a dying man, and will not be back for hours. 
As for myself, there 's no telling how long I may be 
kept. Until I come you are to guard house and gar- 
den well. You know what I mean. Your mistress is 
to be molested by no one." 

" Very well, sir." 

" One thing more. There was some talk yesterday 
of my taking her across the neck to the forest. When 
she awakes, tell her from me that I am sorry for her 
to lose her pleasure, but that now she could not go 
even were I here to take her." 

" There 's no danger from the Paspaheghs there," 
he muttered. 

" The Paspaheghs happen not to be my only foes," 


I said curtly. "Do as I bid you without remark. 
Tell her that I have good reasons for desiring her to 
remain within doors until my return. On no account 
whatever is she to venture without the garden." 

I gathered up the reins, and he stood back from the 
horse's head. When I had gone a few paces I drew 
rein, and, turning in my saddle, spoke to him across 
the dew-drenched grass. " This is a trust, Diccon," I 

The red came into his tanned face. He raised his 
hand and made our old military salute. " I under- 
stand it so, my captain," he answered, and I rode 
away satisfied. 



An hour's ride brought us to the block house stand- 
ing within the forest, midway between the white plan- 
tations at Paspahegh and the village of the tribe. 
We found it well garrisoned, spies out, and the men 
inclined to make light of the black paint and the 
seething village. 

Amongst them was Chanco the Christian. I called 
him to me, and we listened to his report with growing 
perturbation. " Thirty warriors ! " I said, when he 
had finished. " And they are painted yellow as well 
as black, and have dashed their cheeks with puc* 
coon : it 's a l'outrance, then ! And the war dance is 
toward ! If we are to pacify this hornets' nest, it 's 
high time we set about it. Gentlemen of the block 
house, we are but twelve, and they may beat us back, 
in which case those that are left of us will fight it out 
with you here. Watch for us, therefore, and have a 
sally party ready. Forward, men ! " 

" One moment, Captain Percy," said Rolfe. " Chan- 
co, where 's the Emperor ? " 

" Five suns ago he was with the priests at Utta- 
mussac," answered the Indian. "Yesterday, at the 
full sun power, he was in the lodge of the werowance 
of the Chickahominies. He feasts there still. The 
Chickahominies and the Powhatans have buried the 


" I regret to hear it," I remarked. " Whilst they 
took each other's scalps, mine own felt the safer." 

" I advise going direct to Opechancanough," said 

" Since he 's only a league away, so do I," I an- 

We left the block house and the clearing around it, 
and plunged into the depths of the forest. In these 
virgin woods the trees are set well apart, though linked 
one to the other by the omnipresent grape, and there 
is little undergrowth, so that we were able to make 
good speed. Rolfe and I rode well in front of our 
men. By now the sun was shining through the lower 
branches of the trees, and the mist was fast vanish- 
ing. The forest — around us, above us, and under the 
hoofs of the horses where the fallen leaves lay thick 
■ — was as yellow as gold and as red as blood. 

" Rolfe," I asked, breaking a long silence, " do you 
credit what the Indians say of Opechancanough ? " 

" That he was brother to Powhatan only by adop- 

" That, fleeing for his life, he came to Virginia, 
years and years ago, from some mysterious land far 
to the south and west ? " 

" I do not know," he replied thoughtfully. " He 
is like, and yet not like, the people whom he rules. 
In his eye there is the authority of mind ; his features 
are of a nobler cast " — 

" And his heart is of a darker, ' I said. " It is a 
strange and subtle savage." 

" Strange enough and subtle enough, I admit," he 
answered, " though I believe not with you that his 
friendliness toward us is but a mask." 

" Believe it or not, it is so," I said. " That dark, 


cold, still face is a mask, and that simple-seeming 
amazement at horses and armor, guns and blue beads, 
is a mask. It is in my mind that some fair day the 
mask will be dropped. Here 's the village." 

Until our interview with Chanco the Christian, the 
village of the Paspaheghs, and not the village of the 
Chickahominies, had been our destination, and since 
leaving the block house we had made good speed ; but 
now, within the usual girdle of mulberries, we were 
met by the werowance and his chief men with the cus- 
tomary savage ceremonies. We had long since come 
to the conclusion that the birds of the air and the fish 
of the streams were Mercuries to the Indians. 

The werowance received us in due form, with pre- 
sents of fish and venison, cakes of chinquapin meal 
and gourds of pohickory, an uncouth dance by twelve 
of his young men and a deal of hellish noise ; then, at 
our command, led tis into the village, and to the lodge 
which marked its centre. Around it were gathered 
Opechancanough's own warriors, men from Orapax 
and Uttamussac and Werowocomoco, chosen for their 
strength and cunning ; while upon the grass beneath a 
blood-red gum tree sat his wives, painted and tattooed, 
with great strings of pearl and copper about their 
necks. Beyond them were the women and children 
of the Chickahominies, and around us all the red 

The mat that hung before the door of the lodge 
was lifted, and an Indian, emerging, came forward, 
with a gesture of welcome. It was Nantauquas, the 
Lady Rebekah's brother, and the one Indian — sav- 
ing always his dead sister — that was ever to my 
liking ; a savage, indeed, but a savage as brave and 
chivalrous, as courteous and truthful, as a Christian 


Rolfe sprang from his horse, and advancing to 
meet the young chief embraced hi in. Nantauquas 
had been much with his sister during those her happy 
days at Varina, before she went with Rolfe that ill- 
fated voyage to England, and Rolfe loved him for her 
sake and for his own. " I thought you at Orapax, 
Nantauquas ! " he exclaimed. 

" I was there, my brother," said the Indian, and 
his voice was sweet, deep, and grave, like that of his 
sister. " But Opechancanough would go to Uttamus- 
sac, to the temple and the dead kings. I lead his war 
parties now, and I came with him. Opechancanough 
is within the lodge. He asks that my brother and 
Captain Percy come to him there." 

Pie lifted the mat for us, and followed us into the 
lodge. There was the usual winding entrance, with 
half a dozen mats to be lifted one after the other, but 
at last we came to the central chamber and to the 
man we sought. 

He sat beside a small fire burning redly in the twi- 
light of the room. The light shone now upon the 
feathers in his scalp lock, now upon the triple row of 
pearls around his neck, now upon knife and tomahawk 
in his silk grass belt, now on the otterskin mantle 
hanging from his shoulder and drawn across his knees. 
How old he was no man knew. Men said that he was 
older than Powhatan, and Powhatan was very old 
when he died. But he looked a man in the prime of 
life ; his frame was vigorous, his skin unwrinkled, his 
eyes bright and full. When he rose to welcome us, 
and Nantauquas stood beside him, there seemed not a 
score of years between them. 

The matter upon which we had come was not one 
that brooked delay. We waited with what patience 


we might until his long speech of welcome was fin- 
ished, when, in as few words as possible, Rolfe laid 
before him our complaint against the Paspaheghs. 
The Indian listened ; then said, in that voice that al- 
ways made me think of some cold, still, bottomless 
pool lying black beneath overhanging rocks : " My 
brothers may go in peace. The Paspaheghs have 
washed off the black paint. If my brothers go to the 
village, they will find the peace pipe ready for their 

Rolfe and I stared at each other. " I have sent 
messengers," continued the Emperor. " I have told 
the Paspaheghs of my love for the white man, and of 
the goodwill the white man bears the Indian. I have 
told them that Nemattanow was a murderer, and that 
his death was just. They are satisfied. Their village 
is as still as this beast at my feet." He pointed 
downward to a tame panther crouched against his 
moccasins. I thought it an ominous comparison. 

Involuntarily we looked at Nantauquas. "It is 
true," he said. " I am but come from the village of 
the Paspaheghs. I took them the word of Opechan- 

" Then, since the matter is settled, we may go 
home," I remarked, rising as I spoke. " We could, 
of course, have put down the Paspaheghs with one 
hand, giving them besides a lesson which they would 
not soon forget, but in the kindness of our hearts 
toward them and to save ourselves trouble we came 
to Opechancanough. For his aid in this trifling busi- 
ness the Governor gives him thanks." 

A smile just lit the features of the Indian. It 
was gone in a moment. " Does not Opechancanough 
love the white men ? " he said. " Some day he will 
do more than this for them." 


We left the lodge and the dark Emperor within it, 
got to horse, and quitted the village, with its painted 
people, yellowing mulberries, and blood-red gum trees. 
Nantauquas went with us, keeping pace with Rolfe's 
horse, and giving us now and then, in his deep musi- 
cal voice, this or that bit of woodland news. At the 
block house we found confirmation of the Emperor's 
statement. An embassy from the Paspaheghs had 
come with presents, and the peace pipe had been 
smoked. The spies, too, brought news that all war- 
like preparations had ceased in the village. It had 
sunk once more into a quietude befitting the sleepy, 
dreamy, hazy weather. 

Rolfe and I held a short consultation. All ap- 
peared safe, but there was the possibility of a ruse. 
At the last it seemed best that he, who by virtue of 
his peculiar relations with the Indians was ever our 
negotiator, should remain with half our troop at the 
block house, while I reported to the Governor. So I 
left him, and Nantauquas with him, and rode back to 
Jamestown, reaching the town some hours sooner than 
I was expected. 

It was after nooning when I passed through the 
gates of the palisade, and an hour later when I fin- 
ished my report to the Governor. When he at last 
dismissed me, I rode quickly down the street toward 
the minister's house. As I passed the guest house, 
I glanced up at the window from which, at daybreak, 
the Italian had looked down upon me. No one looked 
out now; the window was closely shuttered, and at 
the door beneath my lord's French rascals were con- 
spicuously absent. A few yards further on I met my 
lord face to face, as he emerged from a lane that led 
down to the river. At sight of me he started vio- 


lently, and his hand went to his mouth. I slightly 
bent my head, and rode on past him. At the gate of 
the churchyard, a stone's throw from home, I met 
Master Jeremy Sparrow. 

" Well met ! " he exclaimed. " Are the Indians 
quiet ? " 

" For the nonce. How is your sick man ? " 

" Very well," he answered gravely. " I closed his 
eyes two hours ago." 

" He 's dead, then," I said. « Well, he 's out of his 
troubles, and hath that advantage over the living. 
Have you another call, that you travel from home so 
fast ? " 

" Why, to tell the truth," he replied, " I could not 
but feel uneasy when I learned just now of this com- 
motion amongst the heathen. You must know best, 
but I should not have thought it a day for madam to 
walk in the woods ; so I e'en thought I would cross 
the neck and bring her home." 

" For madam to walk in the woods ? " I said slowly. 
" So she walks there ? With whom ? " 

" With Diccon and Angela," he answered. " They 
went before the sun was an hour high, so Goodwife 
Allen says. I thought that you " — 

" No," I told him. " On the contrary, I left com- 
mand that she should not venture outside the garden. 
There are more than Indians abroad." 

I was white with anger: but besides anger there 
was fear in my heart. 

" I will go at once and bring her home," I said. 
As I spoke, I happened to glance toward the fort and 
the shipping in the river beyond. Something seemed 
wrong with the prospect. I looked again, anH saw 
what hated and familiar object was missing. 


"Where is the Santa Teresa?" I demanded, the 
fear at my heart tugging harder. 

" She dropped downstream this morning. I passed 
her as I came up from Archer's Hope, awhile ago. 
She 's anchored in midstream off the big spring. 
Why did she go?" 

We looked each other in the eyes, and each read 
the thought that neither cared to put into words. 

" You can take the brown mare," I said, speaking 
lightly because my heart was as heavy as lead, " and 
we '11 ride to the forest. It is all right, I dare say. 
Doubtless we '11 find her garlanding herself with the 
grape, or playing with the squirrels, or asleep on the 
red leaves, with her head in Angela's lap." 

" Doubtless," he said. " Don't lose time. I '11 sad- 
dle the mare and overtake you in two minutes." 



Beside the minister and myself, nothing human 
moved in the crimson woods. Blue haze was there, 
and the steady drift of colored leaves, and the sun- 
shine freely falling through bared limbs, but no man 
or woman. The fallen leaves rustled as the deer 
passed, the squirrels chattered and the foxes barked, 
but we heard no sweet laughter or ringing song. 

We found a bank of moss, and lying upon it a 
chaplet of red-brown oak leaves ; further on, the mint 
beside a crystal streamlet had been trodden underfoot ; 
then, flung down upon the brown earth beneath some 
pines, we came upon a long trailer of scarlet vine. 
Beyond was a fairy hollow, a cuplike depression, cur- 
tained from the world by the red vines that hung 
from the trees upon its brim, and carpeted with the 
gold of a great maple ; and here Fear became a giant 
with whom it was vain to wrestle. 

There had been a struggle in the hollow. The cur- 
tain of vines was torn, the boughs of a sumach bent 
and broken, the fallen leaves groun underfoot. In 
one place there was blood upon the leaves. 

The forest seemed suddenly very quiet, — quite 

soundless save for the beating of our hearts. On 

/y every side opened red and yellow ways, sunny glades, 

0T" labyrinthine paths, long aisles, all dim with the blue 

haze like the cloudy incense in stone cathedrals, but 


aothing moved in them save the creatures of the 
forest. Without the hollow there was no sign. The 
leaves looked undisturbed, or others, drifting down, 
had hidden any marks there might have been; no 
footprints, no broken branches, no token of those who 
had left the hollow. Down which of the painted ways 
had they gone, and where were they now ? 

Sparrow and I sat our horses, and stared now down 
this alley, now down that, into the blue that closed 
each vista. 

" The Santa Teresa is just off the big spring," he 
said at last. " She must have dropped down there in 
order to take in water quietly." 

" The man that came upon her is still in town, — 
or was an hour agone," I replied. 

" Then she has n't sailed yet," he said. 

In the distance something grew out of the blue 
mist. I had not lived thirteen years in the woodland 
to be dim of sight or dull of hearing. 

" Some one is coming," I announced. " Back your 
horse into this clump of sumach." 

The sumach grew thick, and was draped, moreover, 
with some broad-leafed vine. Within its covert we 
could see with small danger of being seen, unless the 
approaching figure should prove to be that of an 
Indian. It was not an Indian ; it was my Lord Car- 
nal. He came on slowly, glancing from side to side, 
and pausing now and then as if to listen. He was so 
little of a. woodsman that he never looked underfoot. 

Sparrow touched my arm and pointed down a glade 
at right angles with the path my lord was pursuing. 
Up this glade there was coming toward us another 
figure, — a small black figure that moved swiftly, 
looking neither to the right nor to the left. 


Black Lamoral stood like a stone ; the brown mare, 
too, had learned what meant a certain touch upon her 
shoulder. Sparrow and I, with small shame for our 
eavesdropping, bent to our saddlebows and looked 
sideways through tiny gaps in the crimson foliage. 

My lord descended one side of the hollow, his 
heavy foot bringing down the dead leaves and loose 
earth ; the Italian glided down the opposite side, dis- 
turbing the economy of the forest as little as a snake 
would have done. 

" I thought I should never meet you," growled my 
lord. " I thought I had lost you and her and myself. 
This d — d red forest and this blue haze are enough 
to " — He broke off with an oath. 

" I came as fast as I could," said the other. His 
voice was strange, thin and dreamy, matching his 
filmy eyes and his eternal, very faint smile. " Your 
poor physician congratulates your lordship upon the 
success that still attends you. Yours is a fortunate 
star, my lord." 

" Then you have her safe ? " cried my lord. 

" Three miles from here, on the river bank, is a 
ring of pines, in which the trees grow so thick that 
it is always twilight. Ten years ago a man was 
murdered there, and Sir Thomas Dale chained the 
murderer to the tree beneath which his victim was 
buried, and left him to perish of hunger and thirst. 
That is the tale they tell at Jamestown. The wood 
is said to be haunted by murdered and murderer, and 
no one enters it or comes nearer to it than he can 
avoid: which makes it an excellent resort for those 
whom the dead cannot scare. The lady is there, my 
lord, with your four knaves to guard her. They do 
not know that the gloom and quiet of the place are 
due to more than nature." 


My lord began to laugh. Either he had been 
drinking, or the success of his villainy had served for 
wine. " You are a man in a thousand, Nicolo ! " he 
said. " How far above or below the ship is this for- 
tunate wood ? " 

" Just opposite, my lord." 

" Can a boat land easily ? " 

" A creek runs through the wood to the river. 
There needs but the appointed signal from the bank, 
and a boat from the Santa Teresa can be rowed up 
the stream to the very tree beneath which the lady 

My lord's laughter rang out again. " You 're a man 
in ten thousand, Nicolo ! Nicolo, the bridegroom 's in 

" Back so soon ? " said the Italian. " Then we 
must change your lordship's plan. With him on the 
ground, you can no longer wait until nightfall to row 
downstream to the lady and the Santa Teresa. He '11 
come to look for her." 

" Ay, he '11 come to look for her, curse him ! " 
echoed my lord. 

"Do you think the dead will scare him? " contin- 
ued the Italian. 

" No, I don't ! " answered my lord, with an oath. 
" I would he were among them ! An I could have 
killed him before I went " — 

" I had devised a way to do it long ago, had not 
your lordship's conscience been so tender. And yet, 
before now, our enemies — yours and mine, my lord 
— have met with sudden and mysterious death. Men 
stared, but they ended by calling it a dispensation of 
Providence." He broke off to laugh with silent, hate- 
ful laughter, as mirthful as the grin of a death's-head. 


" I know, I know ! " said my lord impatiently. 
" We are not overnice, Nicolo. But between me and 
those who then stood in my way there had passed 
no challenge. This is my mortal foe, through whose 
heart I would drive my sword. I would give my ruby 
to know whether he 's in the town or in the forest." 

" He 's in the forest," I said. 

Black Lamoral and the brown mare were beside 
them before either moved hand or foot, or did aught 
but stare and stare, as though men and horses had 
risen from the dead. All the color was gone from 
my lord's face, — it looked white, drawn, and pinched ; 
as for his companion, his countenance did not change, 
— never changed, I believe, — but the trembling of 
the feather in his hat was not caused by the wind. 

Jeremy Sparrow bent down from his saddle, seized 
the Italian under the armpits, and swung him clean 
from the ground up to the brown mare's neck. " Di- 
vinity and medicine," he said genially, " soul healer 
and body poisoner, we '11 ride double for a time," and 
proceeded to bind the doctor's hands with his own 
scarf. The creature of venom before him writhed 
and struggled, but the minister's strength was as the 
strength of ten, and the minister's hand held him 
down. By this I was off Black Lamoral and facing 
my lord. The color had come back to his lip and 
cheek, and the flash to his eye. His hand went to 
his sword hilt. 

" I shall not draw mine, my lord," I told him. " I 
keep troth." 

He stared at me with a frown that suddenly changed 
into a laugh, forced and unnatural enough. " Then 
go thy ways, and let me go mine ! " he cried. " Be 
complaisant, worthy captain of trainbands and Bur- 


gess from a dozen huts ! The King and. I will make 
it worth your while." 

" I will not draw my sword upon you," I replied, 
" but I will try a fall with you," and I seized him by 
the wrist. 

He was a good wrestler as he was a good swords- 
man, but, with bitter anger in my heart and a vision 
of the haunted wood before my eyes, I think I could 
have wrestled with Hercules and won. Presently I 
threw him, and, pinning him down with my knee upon 
his breast, cried to Sparrow to cut the bridle reins 
from Black Lamoral and throw them to me. Though 
he had the Italian upon his hands, he managed to 
obey. With my free hand and my teeth I drew a 
thong about my lord's arms and bound them to his 
sides ; then took my knee from his chest and my 
hand from his throat, and rose to my feet. He rose 
too with one spring. He was very white, and there 
was foam on his lips. 

" What next, captain ? " he demanded thickly. 
" Your score is mounting up rather rapidly. What 
next ? " 

" This," I replied, and with the other thong fas- 
tened him, despite his struggles, to the young maple 
beneath which we had wrestled. When the task was 
done, I first drew his sword from its jeweled scabbard 
and laid it on the ground at his feet, and then cut the 
leather which restrained his arms, leaving him only 
tied to the tree. " I am not Sir Thomas Dale," I 
said, " and therefore I shall not gag you and leave 
you bound for an indefinite length of time, to contem- 
plate a grave that you thought to dig. One haunted 
wood is enough for one county. Your lordship will 
observe that I have knotted your bonds in easy reach 


of your hands, the use of which I have just restored 
to you. The knot is a peculiar one ; an Indian taught 
it to me. If you set to work at once, you will get 
it untied before nightfall. That you may not think it 
the Gordian knot and treat it as such, I have put 
your sword where you can get it only when you have 
worked for it. Your familiar, my lord, may prove of 
use to us ; therefore we will take him with us to the 
haunted wood. I have the honor to wish your lord- 
ship a very good day." 

I bowed low, swung myself into my saddle, and 
turned my back upon his glaring eyes and bared 
teeth. Sparrow, his prize flung across his saddlebow, 
turned with me. A minute more saw us out of the 
hollow, and entered upon the glade up which had 
come the Italian. When we had gone a short dis- 
tance, I turned in my saddle and looked back. The 
tiny hollow had vanished ; all the forest looked level, 
dreamy and still, barren of humanity, given over to 
its own shy children, nothing moving save the slow- 
falling leaves. But from beyond a great clump of 
sumach, set like a torch in the vaporous blue, came a 
steady stream of words, happily rendered indistin- 
guishable by distance, and I knew that the King's 
minion was cursing the Italian, the Governor, the 
Santa Teresa, the Due Return, the minister, the for- 
est, the haunted wood, his sword, the knot that I had 
tied, and myself. 

I admit that the sound was music in mine ears. 



On the outskirts of the haunted wood we dis- 
mounted, fastening the horses to two pines. The 
Italian we gagged and bound across the brown mare's 
saddle. Then, as noiselessly as Indians, we entered 
the wood. 

Once within it, it was as though the sun had sud- 
denly sunk from the heavens. The pines, of magni- 
ficent height and girth, were so closely set that far 
overhead, where the branches began, was a heavy roof 
of foliage, impervious to the sunshine, brooding, dark 
and sullen as a thundercloud, over the cavernous 
world beneath. There was no undergrowth, no cling- 
ing vines, no bloom, no color ; only the dark, innu- 
merable tree trunks and the purplish-brown, scented, 
and slippery earth. The air was heavy, cold, and 
still, like cave air ; the silence as blank and awful as 
the silence beneath the earth. 

The minister and I stole through the dusk, and for 
a long time heard nothing but our own breathing and 
the beating of our hearts. But coming to a sluggish j 
stream, as quiet as the wood through which it crept, j 
and following its slow windings, we at last heard a 
voice, and in the distance made out dark forms sit- 
ting on the earth beside that sombre water. We went 
on with caution, gliding from tree to tree and making 
no noise. In the cheerless silence of that place any 


sound would have shattered the stillness like a pistol 

Presently we came to a halt, and, ourselves hidden 
by a giant trunk, looked out on stealers and stolen. 
They were gathered on the bank of the stream, wait- 
ing for the boat from the Santa Teresa. The lady 
I whom we sought lay like a fallen flower on the dark 
/ ground beneath a pine. She did not move, and her 
eyes were shut. At her head crouched the negress, 
her white garments showing ghostlike through the 
gloom. Beneath the next tree sat Diccon, his hands 
tied behind him, and around him my Lord Carnal's 
four knaves. It was Diccon's voice that we had heard. 
He was still speaking, and now we could distinguish 
the words. 

" So Sir Thomas chains him there," he said, — 
" right there to that tree under which you are sitting, 
Jacky Bonhomme." Jacques incontinently shifted his 
position. " He chains him there, with one chain 
around his neck, one around his waist, and one around 
his ankles. Then he sticks me a bodkin through his 
tongue." A groan of admiration from his audience^ 
" Then they dig, before his very eyes, a grave, — shal- 
low enough they make it, too, — and they put into it, 
uncoffined, with only a long white shroud upon him, 
the man he murdered. Then they cover the grave. 
You 're sitting on it now, you other Jacky." 

" Godam ! " cried the rascal addressed, and removed 
with expedition to a less storied piece of ground. 

"Then they go away," continued Diccon in grave- 
yard tones. " They all go away together, — Sir 
Thomas and Captain Argall, Captain West, Lieuten- 
ant George Percy and his cousin, my master, and Sir 
Thomas's men ; they go out of the wood as though 


it were accursed, though indeed it was not half so 
gloomy then as it is now. The sun shone into it then, 
sometimes, and the birds sang. You would n't think 
it from the looks of things now, would you ? As the 
dead man rotted in his grave, and the living man died 
by inches above him, they say the wood grew darker, 
and darker, and darker. How dark it 's getting now, 
and cold, — cold as the dead ! " 

His auditors drew closer together, and shivered. 
Sparrow and I were so near that we could see the 
hands of the ingenious story-teller, bound behind his 
back, working as he talked. Now they strained this 
way, and now that, at the piece of rope that bound 

" That was ten years ago," he said, his voice be« 
coming more and more impressive. " Since that day 
nothing comes into this wood, — nothing human, that 
is. Neither white man nor Indian comes, that 's cer- 
tain. Then why are n't there chains around that tree, 
and why are there no bones beneath it, on the ground 
there? Because, Jackies all, the man that did that 
murder walks ! It is not always deadly still here ; 
sometimes there 's a clanking of chains ! And a bod- 
kin through the tongue can't keep the dead from 
wailing ! And the murdered man walks, too ; in his 
shroud he follows the other — Is n't that something 
white in the distance yonder ? " 

My lord's four knaves looked down the arcade of 
trees, and saw the something white as plainly as if it 
had been verily there. Each moment the wood grew 
darker, — a thing in nature, since the sun outside was 
swiftly sinking to the horizon. But to those to whom 
that tale had been told it was a darkening unearthly 
and portentous, bringing with it a colder air and a 
deepened silence. 


" Oh, Sir Thomas Dale, Sir Thomas Dale ! " 

The voice seemed to come from the distance, and 
bore in its dismal cadence the melancholy of the 
damned. For a moment my heart stood still, and the 
hair of my head commenced to rise ; the next, I knew 
that Diccon had found an ally, not in the dead, 
but in the living. The minister, standing beside me, 
opened his mouth again, and again that dismal voice 
rang through the wood, and again it seemed, by I 
know not what art, to come from any spot rather than 
from that particular tree behind whose trunk stood 
Master Jeremy Sparrow. 

" Oh, the bodkin through my tongue ! Oh, the 
bodkin through my tongue ! " 

Two of the guard sat with hanging lip and lack- 
lustre eyes, turned to stone ; one, at full length upon 
the ground, bruised his face against the pine needles 
and called on the Virgin ; the fourth, panic-stricken, 
leaped to his feet and dashed off into the darkness, 
to trouble us no more that day. 

" Oh, the heavy chains ! " cried the unseen spectre. 
" Oh, the dead man in his grave ! " 

The man on his face dug his nails into the earth 
and howled ; his fellows were too frightened for sound 
or motion. Diccon, a hardy rogue, with little fear of 
God or man, gave no sign of perturbation beyond a 
desperate tugging at the rope about his wrists. He 
was ever quick to take suggestion, and he had prob- 
ably begun to question the nature of the ghost who 
was doing him such yeoman service. 

" D' ye think they 've had enough ? " said Sparrow 
in my ear. " My invention flaggeth." 

I nodded, too choked with laughter for speech, and 
drew my sword. The next moment we were upon the 
men like wolves upon the fold. 


They made no resistance. Amazed and shaken as 
they were, we might have dispatched them with all 
ease, to join the dead whose lamentations yet rang in 
their ears ; but we contented ourselves with disarming 
them and bidding them begone for their lives in the 
direction of the Pamunkey. They went like fright- 
ened deer, their one goal in life escape from the wood. 

" Did you meet the Italian ? " 

I turned to find my wife at my side. The King's 
ward had a kingly spirit ; she was not one that 
the dead or the living could daunt. To her, as to 
me, danger was a trumpet call to nerve heart and 
strengthen soul. She had been in peril of that which 
she most feared, but the light in her eye was not 
quenched, and the hand with which she touched mine, 
though cold, was steady. 

" Is he dead ? " she asked. " At court they called 
him the Black Death. They said " — 

tk I did not kill him," I answered, " but I will if 
you desire it." 

" And his master ? " she demanded. " What have 
you done with his master? " 

I told her. At the vision my words conjured up 
her strained nerves gave way, and she broke into 
laughter as cruel as it was sweet. Peal after peal 
rang through the haunted wood, and increased the 
eeriness of the place. 

" The knot that I tied he will untie directly," I 
said. " If we would reach Jamestown first, we had 
best be going." 

" Night is upon us, too," said the minister, " and 
this place hath the look of the very valley of the 
shadow of death. If the spirits walk, it is hard upon 
their time — and I prefer to walk eisewhere." 


" Cease your laughter, madam," I said. " Should 
a boat be coming up this stream, you would betray 

I went over to Diccon, and in a silence as grim as 
his own cut the rope which bound his hands, which 
done we all moved through the deepening gloom to 
where we had left the horses, Jeremy Sparrow going 
on ahead to have them in readiness. Presently he 
came hurrying back. " The Italian is gone ! " he cried. 

" Gone ! " I exclaimed. " I told you to tie him fast 
to the saddle ! " 

" Why, so I did," he replied. " I drew the thongs 
so tight that they cut into his flesh. He could not 
have endured to pull against them." 

" Then how did he get away ? " 

" Why," he answered, with a rueful countenance, 
" I did bind him, as I have said ; but when I had 
done so, I bethought me of how the leather must cut, 
and of how pain is dreadful even to a snake, and of 
the injunction to do as you would be done by, and 
so e'en loosened his bonds. But, as I am a christened 
man, I thought that they would yet hold him fast ! " 

I began to swear, but ended in vexed laughter. 
'* The milk 's spilt. There 's no use in crying over it. 
After all, we must have loosed him before we entered 
the town." 

" Will you not bring the matter before the Gov- 
ernor ? " he asked. 

I shook my head. " If Yeardley did me right, he 
would put in jeopardy his office and his person. This 
is my private quarrel, and I will draw no man into it 
against his will. Here are the horses, and we had best 
be gone, for by this time my lord and his physician 
may have their heads together again." 


I mounted Black Lamoral, and lifted Mistress Percy 
to a seat behind me. The brown mare bore the min- 
ister and the negress, and Diccon, doggedly silent, 
trudged beside us. 

We passed through the haunted wood and the 
painted forest beyond without adventure. We rode 
in silence : the lady behind me too weary for speech, 
the minister revolving in his mind the escape of the 
Italian, and I with my own thoughts to occupy me. 
It was dusk when we crossed the neck of land, and 
as we rode down the street torches were being lit in 
the houses. The upper room in the guest house was 
brightly illumined, and the window was open. Black 
Lamoral and the brown mare made a trampling with 
their hoofs, and I began to whistle a gay old tune I 
had learnt in the wars. A figure in scarlet and black 
came to the window, and stood there looking down 
upon us. The lady riding with me straightened her- 
self and raised her weary head. " The next time we 
go to the forest, Ralph," she said in a clear, high 
voice, " thou 'It show me a certain tree," and she 
broke into silvery laughter. She laughed until we 
had left behind the guest house and the figure in 
the upper window, and then the laughter changed to 
something like a sob. If there were pain and anger 
in her heart, pain and anger were in mine also. She 
had never called me by my name before. She hadj%;' 
only used it now as a dagger with which to stab at 
that fierce heart above us. 

At last we reached the minister's house, and dis- 
mounted before the door. Diccon led the horses 
away, and I handed my wife into the great room. 
The minister tarried but for a few words anent some 
precautions that I meant to take, and then betook 


himself to his own chamber. As he went out of the 
door Diccon entered the room. 

"Oh, I am weary ! " sighed Mistress Jocelyn Percy. 
" What was the mighty business, Captain Percy, that 
made you break tryst with a lady? You should go to 
court, sir, to be taught gallantry." 

" Where should a wife go to be taught obedience ? " 
I demanded. " You know where I went and why I 
could not keep tryst. Why did you not obey my 
orders ? " 

She opened wide her eyes. " Your orders ? I never 
received any, — not that I should have obeyed them 
if I had. Know where you went? I know neither 
! why nor where you went ! " 

I leaned my hand upon the table, and looked from 
her to Diccon. 

" I was sent by the Governor to quell a disturb- 
ance amongst the nearest Indians. The woods to- 
day have been full of danger. Moreover, the plan 
that we made yesterday was overheard by the Italian. 
When I had to go this morning without seeing you, 
I left you word where I had gone and why, and also 
my commands that you should not stir outside the 
garden. Were you not told this, madam? " 

"No!" she cried. 

I looked at Diccon. " I told madam that you were 
called away on business," he said sullenly. " I told 
her that you were sorry you could not go with her to 
the woods." 

" You told her nothing more ? " 

" No." 

" May I ask why ? " 

He threw back his head. " I did not believe the 
Paspaheghs would trouble her," he answered, with 



hardihood, " and you had n't seen fit, sir, to tell me 
of the other danger. Madam wanted to go, and I 
thought it a pity that she should lose her pleasure for 

I had been hunting the day before, and my whip 
yet lay upon the table. "I have known you for a 
hardy rogue," I said, with my hand upon it ; " now I 
know you for a faithless one as well. If I gave you 
credit for all the vices of the soldier, I gave you credit 
also for his virtues. I was the more deceived. The 
disobedient servant I might pardon, but the soldier 
who is faithless to his trust " — 

I raised the whip and brought it down again and "* f /*"«■-? 
again across his shoulders. He stood without a word, f**y * " 
his face dark red and his hands clenched at his sides. 
For a minute or more there was no sound in the room 
save the sound of the blows ; then my wife suddenly 
cried out : " It is enough ! You have beaten him 
enough ! Let him go, sir ! " 

I threw down the whip. " Begone, sirrah ! " I 
ordered. " And keep out of my sight to-morrow ! " 

With his face still dark red and with a pulse beat- 
ing fiercely in his cheek, he moved slowly toward the 
door, turned when he had reached it and saluted, then 
went out and closed it after him. 

" Now he too will be your enemy," said Mistress 
Percy, " and all through me. I have brought you 
many enemies, have I not ? Perhaps you count me 
amongst them ? I should not wonder if you did. Do 
you not wish me gone from Virginia ? " 

" So I were with you, madam," I said bluntly, and 
went to call the minister down to supper. 



The next day, Governor and Councilors sat to re- 
ceive presents from the Paspaheghs and to listen to 
long and affectionate messages from Opechancanough, 
who, like the player queen, did protest too much. 
The Council met at Yeardley's house, and I was 
called before it to make my report of the expedition 
of the day before. It was late afternoon when the 
Governor dismissed us, and I found myself leaving 
the house in company with Master Pory. 

" I am bound for my lord's," said that worthy as 
we neared the guest house. " My lord hath Xeres 
wine that is the very original nectar of the gods, and 
he drinks it from goblets worth a king's ransom. We 
have heard a deal to-day about burying hatchets : 
bury thine for the nonce, Ralph Percy, and come 
drink with us." 

"Not I," I said. "I would sooner drink with — 
some one else." 

He laughed. " Here 's my lord himself shall per- 
suade you." 

My lord, dressed with his usual magnificence and 
darkly handsome as ever, was indeed standing within 
the guest-house door. Pory drew up beside him. I 
was passing on with a slight bow, when the Secretary 
caught me by the sleeve. At the Governor's house 
wine had been set forth to revive the jaded Council, 


and he was already half seas over. " Tarry with us, 
captain ! " he cried. " Good wine 's good wine, no 
matter who pours it ! 'S bud ! in my young days 
men called a truce and forgot they were foes when the 
bottle went round ! " 

" If Captain Percy will stay," quoth my lord, " I 
will give him welcome and good wine. As Master 
Pory says, men cannot be always fighting. A breath- 
ing spell to-day gives to-morrow's struggle new zest." 

He spoke frankly, with open face and candid eyes. 
I was not fooled. If yesterday he would have slain 
me only in fair fight, it was not so to-day. Under the 
lace that fell over his wrist was a red cirque, the 
mark of the thong with which I had bound him. As 
if he had told me, I knew that he had thrown his 
scruples to the winds, and that he cared not what foul 
play he used to sweep me from his path. My spirit 
and my wit rose to meet the danger. Of a sudden I 
resolved to accept his invitation. 

" So be it," I said, with a laugh and a shrug of my 
shoulders. " A cup of wine is no great matter. I '11 
take it at your hands, my lord, and drink to our 
better acquaintance." 

We all three went up into my lord's room. The 
King had fitted out his minion bravely for the Vir- 
ginia voyage, and the riches that had decked the 
state cabin aboard the Santa Teresa now served to 
transform the bare room in the guest house at James- 
town into a corner of Whitehall. The walls were 
hung with arras, there was a noble carpet beneath as 
well as upon the table, and against the wall stood 
richly carved trunks. On the table, beside a bowl of 
late flowers were a great silver flagon and a number 
of goblets, some of chased silver and some of colored 


glass, strangely shaped and fragile as an eggshell. 
The late sun now shining in at the open window made 
the glass to glow like precious stones. 

My lord rang a little silver bell, and a door behind 
us was opened. " Wine, Giles ! " cried my lord in 
a raised voice. " Wine for Master Pory, Captain 
Percy, and myself ! And Giles, my two choice gob- 

Giles, whom I had never seen before, advanced to 
the table, took the flagon, and went toward the door, 
which he had shut behind him. I negligently turned 
in my seat, and so came in for a glimpse, as he slipped 
through the door, of a figure in black in the next 

The wine was brought, and with it two goblets. 
My lord broke off in the midst of an account of 
the morning's bear-baiting which the tediousness of 
the Indians had caused us to miss. " Who knows if 
we three shall ever drink together again ? " he said. 
" To honor this bout I use my most precious cups." 
Voice and manner were free and unconstrained. 
" This gold cup " — he held it up — " belonged to the 
Medici. Master Pory, who is a man of taste, will 
note the beauty of the graven maenads upon this side, 
and of the Bacchus and Ariadne upon this. It is the 
work of none other than B envenuto Cellini. I pour 
for you, sir." He filled the gold cup with the ruby 
wine and set it before the Secretary, who eyed it 
with all the passion of a lover, and waited not for 
us, but raised it to his lips at once. My lord took up 
the other cup. " This glass," he continued, " as green 
as an emerald, freckled inside and out with gold, and 
shaped like a lily, was once amongst a convent's trea- 
sures- My father brought it from Italy, years ago. 


I use it as he used it, only on gala days. I fill to you, 
sir." He poured the wiue into the green and gold 
and twisted bauble and set it before me, then filled 
a silver goblet for himself. " Drink, gentlemen," he 

" Faith, I have drunken already," quoth the Secre- 
tary, and proceeded to fill for himself a second time. 
" Here 's to you, gentlemen ! " and he emptied half 
the measure. 

" Captain Percy does not drink," remarked my 

I leaned my elbow upon the table, and, holding up 
the glass against the light, began to admire its beauty. 
" The tint is wonderful," I said, " as lucent a green 
as the top of the comber that is to break and over- 
whelm you. And these knobs of gold, within and 
without, and the strange shape the tortured glass has 
been made to take. I find it of a quite minister 
beauty, my lord." 

" It hath been much admired," said the nobleman 

" I am strangely suited, my lord," I went on, still 
dreamily enjoying the beauty of the green gem within 
my clasp. " I am a soldier with an imagination. 
Sometimes, to give the rein to my fancy pleases me 
more than wine. Now, this strange chalice, — might 
it not breed dreams as strange? " 

" When I had drunken, I think," replied my lord. 
" The wine would be a potent spur to my fancy." 

"What saith honest Jack Falstaff?" broke in the 
maudlin Secretary. " Doth he not bear testimony 
that good sherris maketh the brain apprehensive and 
quick ; filleth it with nimble, fiery, and delectable 
shapes, which being delivered by the tongue become 


excellent wit? Wherefore let us drink, gentlemen, 
and beget fancies." He filled for himself again, and 
buried his nose in the cup. 

" 'T is such a cup, methinks," I said, " as Medea 
may have filled for Theseus. The white hand of Circe 
may have closed around this stem when she stood to 
greet Ulysses, and knew not that he had the saving 
herb in his palm. Goneril may have sent this green 
and gilded shape to Regan. Fair Rosamond may 
have drunk from it while the Queen watched her. At 
some voluptuous feast, Csesar Borgia and his sister, 
sitting crowned with roses, side by side, may have 
pressed it upon a reluctant guest, who had, perhaps, a 
treasure of his own. I dare swear Rene, the Floren- 
tine, hath fingered many such a goblet before it went 
to whom Catherine de' Medici delighted to honor." 

" She had the whitest hands," maundered the Sec- 
retary. " I kissed them once before she died, in Blois, 
when I was young. Rene was one of your slow poison- 
ers. Smell a rose, draw on a pair of perfumed gloves, 
drink from a certain cup, and you rang your own 
knell, though your bier might not receive you for 
many and many a day, — not till the rose was dust, 
the gloves lost, the cup forgotten." 

" There 's a fashion I have seen followed abroad, 
that I like," I said. " Host and guest fill to each other, 
then change tankards. You are my host to-day, my 
lord, and I am your guest. I will drink to you, my 
lord, from your silver goblet." 

With as frank a manner as his own of a while be- 
fore, I pushed the green and gold glass over to him, 
and held out my hand for the silver goblet. That a 
man may smile and smile and be a villain is no new 
doctrine. My lord's laugh and gesture of courtesy 


were as free and ready as if the poisoned splendor 
he drew toward him had been as innocent as a pearl 
within the shell. I took the silver cup from before 
him. " I drink to the King," I said, and drained it 
to the bottom. " Your lordship does not drink. 'T is 
a toast no man refuses." 

He raised the glass to his lips, but set it down be- 
fore its rim had touched them. " I have a headache," 
he declared. " I will not drink to-day." 

Master Pory pulled the flagon toward him, tilted it, 
and found it empty. His rueful face made me laugh. 
My lord laughed too, — somewhat loudly, — but or- 
dered no more wine. " I would I were at the Mer- 
maid again," lamented the now drunken Secretary. 
" There we did n't split a flagon in three parts. . . . 
The Tsar of Muscovy drinks me down a quartern of 
aqna vitaj_ at a gulp, — I 've seen him do it. ... I 
would I were the Bacchus on this cup, with the purple 
grapes adangle above me. . . . Wine and women — 
wine and women . . . good wine needs no bush . . . 
good sherris sack "... His voice died into unintel- 
ligible mutterings, and his gray unreverend head sank 
upon the table. 

I rose, leaving him to his drunken slumbers, and, 
bowing to my lord, took my leave. My lord followed 
me down to the public room below. A party of up- 
river planters had been drinking, and a bit of chalk 
lay upon a settle behind the door upon which the 
landlord had marked their score. I passed it ; then 
turned back and picked it up. " How long a line shall 
I draw, my lord ? " I asked with a smile. 

" How does the length of the door strike you ? " he 

I drew the chalk from top to bottom of the wood. 


" A heavy ^core makes a heavy reckoning, my lord," 
I said, and, leaving the mark upon the door, I bowed 
again and went out into the street. 

The sun was sinking when I reached the minis- 
ter's house, and going into the great room drew a 
stool to the table and sat down to think. Mistress 
Percy was in her own chamber ; in the room overhead 
the minister paced up and down, humming a psalm. 
A fire was burning briskly upon the hearth, and the 
red light rose and fell, — now brightening all the 
room, now leaving it to the gathering dusk. Through 
the door, which I had left open, came the odor of the 
pines, the fallen leaves, and the damp earth. In the 
churchyard an owl hooted, and the murmur of the 
river was louder than usual. 

I had sat staring at the table before me for perhaps 
half an hour, when I chanced to raise my eyes to the 
opposite wall. Now, on this wall, reflecting the fire- 
light and the open door behind me, hung a small 
Venetian mirror, which I had bought from a number 
of such toys brought in by the Southampton, and 
had given to Mistress Percy. My eyes rested upon it, 
idly at first, then closely enough as I saw within it a 
man enter the room. I had heard no footfall ; there 
was no noise now behind me. The fire was somewhat 
sunken, and the room was almost in darkness ; I saw 
^jpfS « him in the glass dimly, as shadow rather than sub- 
stance. But the light was not so faint that the mir- 
ror could not show me the raised hand and the dagger 
within its grasp. I sat without motion, watching the 
figure in the glass grow larger. When it was nearly 
upon me, and the hand with the dagger drawn back 
for the blow, I sprang up, wheeled, and caught it by 
the wrist. 



A moment's fierce struggle, and I had the dagger 
in my own hand and the man at my mercy. The fire 
upon the hearth seized on a pine knot and blazed up 
brightly, filling the room with light. " Diccon ! " I 
cried, and dropped my arm. 

I had never thought of this. The room was very 
quiet as, master and man, we stood and looked each 
other in the face. He fell back to the wall and leaned 
against it, breathing heavily ; into the space between 
us the past came thronging. 

I opened my hand and let the dagger drop to the 
floor. " I suppose that this was because of last 
night," I said. " I shall never strike you again." 

I went to the table, and sitting down leaned my 
forehead upon my hand. It was Diccon who would 
have done this thing ! The fire crackled on the hearth 
as had crackled the old camp fires in Flanders ; the 
wind outside was the wind that had whistled through 
the rigging of the Treasurer, one terrible night when 
we lashed ourselves to the same mast and never 
thought to see the morning. Diccon ! 

Upon the table was the minister's inkhorn and pen. 
I drew my tablets from the breast of my doublet and 
began to write. " Diccon ! " I called, without turn- 
ing, when I had finished. 

He came slowly forward to the table, and stood be- 
side it with hanging head. I tore the leaf from the 
book and pushed it over to him. " Take it," I ordered. 

" To the commander ? " he asked. " I am to take 
it to the commander? " 

I shook my head. " Read it." 

He stared at it vacantly, turning it now this way, 
now that. 

" Did you forget how to read when you forgot all 
else ? " I said sternly. 


He read, and the color rushed into his face. 

" It is your freedom," I said. " You are no longer 
man of mine. Begone, sirrah ! " 

He crumpled the paper in his hand. " I was mad," 
he muttered. 

" I could almost believe it," I replied. " Begone ! " 

After a moment he went. Sitting still in my place, 
I heard him heavily and slowly leave the room, descend 
the step at the door, and go out into the night. 

A door opened, and Mistress Jocelyn Percy came 
into the great room, like a sunbeam strayed back to 
earth. Her skirt was of flowered satin, her bodice 
of rich taffeta ; between the gossamer walls of her 
French ruff rose the whitest neck to meet the fairest 
face. Upon her dark hair sat, as lightly as a kiss, a 
little pearl-bordered cap. A color was in her cheeks 
and a laugh on her lips. The rosy light of the burn- 
ing pine caressed her, — now dwelling on the rich 
dress, now on the gold chain around the slender 
waist, now on rounded arms, now on the white fore- 
head below the pearls. Well, she was a fair lady for 
a man to lay down his life for. 

" I held court this afternoon ! " she cried. " Where 
were you, sir ? Madam West was here, and my Lady 
Temperance Yeardley, and Master Wynne, and Mas- 
ter Thorpe from Henricus, and Master Rolfe with his 
Indian brother, — who, I protest, needs but silk doub- 
let and hose and a month at Whitehall to make him 
a very fine gentleman." 

" If courage, steadfastness, truth, and courtesy make 
a gentleman," I said, "he is one already. Such an 
one needs not silk doublet nor court training." 

She looked at me with her bright eyes. " No," she 
repeated, "such an one needs not silk doublet nor 


court training." Going to the fire, she stood with 
one hand upon the mantelshelf, looking down into the 
ruddy hollows. Presently she stooped and gathered 
up something from the hearth. " You waste paper 
strangely, Captain Percy," she said, "Here is a 
whole handful of torn pieces." 

She came over to the table, and with a laugh show- 
ered the white fragments down upon it, then fell to 
idly piecing them together. " What were you writ- 
ing ? " she asked. " ' To all whom it may concern : I, 
Ralph Percy, Gentleman, of the Hundred of Weya- 
noke, do hereby set free from all service to me and 
mine'" — 

I took from her the bits of paper, and fed the fire 
with them. " Paper is but paper," I said. " It is 
easily rent. Happily a man's will is more durable," 



The Governor had brought with him from London, 
the year before, a set of boxwood bowls, and had made, 
between his house and the fort, a noble green. The 
generality must still use for the game that portion 
of the street that was not tobacco-planted j but the 
quality nocked to the Governor's green, and here, 
one holiday afternoon, a fortnight or more from the 
day in which I had drunk to the King from my lord's 
silver goblet, was gathered a very great company. 
The Governor's match was toward, — ten men to a 
side, a hogshead of sweet-scented to the victorious ten, 
and a keg of canary to the man whose bowl should 
hit the jack. 

The season had been one of unusual mildness, and 
the sunshine was still warm and bright, gilding the 
velvet of the green, and making the red and yellow 
leaves swept into the trench to glow like a ribbon of 
flame. The sky was blue, the water bluer still, the 
leaves bright-colored, the wind blowing ; only the 
enshrouding forest, wrapped in haze, seemed as dim, 
unreal, and far away as a last year's dream. 

The Governor's gilt armchair had been brought 
from the church, and put for him upon the bank of 
turf at the upper end of the green. By his side sat 
my Lady Temperance, while the gayly dressed dames 
and the men who were to play and to watch were 


accommodated with stools and settles or with seats on 
the green grass. All were dressed in holiday clothes, 
all tongues spoke, all eyes laughed ; you might have 
thought there was not a heavy heart amongst them. 
Rolfe was there, gravely courteous, quiet and ready ; 
and by his side, in otterskin mantle, beaded moccasins, 
and feathered headdress, the Indian chief, his brother- 
in-law, — the bravest, comeliest, and manliest savage 
with whom I have ever dealt. There, too, was Mas- 
ter Pory, red and jovial, with an eye to the sack the 
servants were bringing from the Governor's house ; 
and the commander, with his wife ; and Master Jer- 
emy Sparrow, fresh from a most moving sermon on 
the vanities of this world. Captains, Councilors, and 
Burgesses aired their gold lace, and their wit or their 
lack of it ; while a swarm of younger adventurers, 
youths of good blood and bad living, come from home 
for the weal of England and the woe of Virginia, 
went here and there through the crowd like gilded 
summer flies. 

Rolfe and I were to play ; he sat on the grass at 
the feet of Mistress Jocelyn Percy, making her now 
and then some courtly speech, and I stood beside her, 
my hand on the back of her chair. 

The King's ward held court as though she were a 
king's daughter. In the brightness of her beauty she 
sat there, as gracious for the nonce as the sunshine, 
and as much of another world. All knew her story, 
and to the daring that is in men's hearts her own dar- 
ing appealed, — and she was young and very beautiful. 
Some there had not been my friends, and now rejoiced 
in what seemed my inevitable ruin ; some whom I had 
thought my friends were gone over to the stronger 
side ; many who in secret wished me well still shook 


their heads and shrugged their shoulders over what 
they were pleased to call my madness ; but for her, I 
was glad to know, there were only good words. The 
Governor had left his gilt armchair to welcome her to 
the green, and had caused a chair to be set for her 
near his own, and here men came and bowed before 
her as if she had been a princess indeed. 

A stir amongst the crowd, a murmur, and a craning 
of necks heralded the approach of that other at whom 
the town gaped with admiration. He came with his 
retinue of attendants, his pomp of dress, his arrogance 
of port, his splendid beauty. Men looked from the 
beauty of the King's ward to the beauty of the King's 
minion, from her costly silk to his velvet and miniver, 
from the air of the court that became her well to the 
towering pride and insolence which to the thoughtless 
seemed his fortune's proper mantle, and deemed them 
a pair well suited, and the King's will indeed the will 
of Heaven. 

I was never one to value a man by his outward 
seeming, but suddenly I saw myself as in a mirror, — 
a soldier, scarred and bronzed, acquainted with the 
camp, but not with the court, roughened by a rude 
life, poor in this world's goods, the first flush of youth 
gone forever. For a moment my heart was bitter 
within me. The pang passed, and my hand tightened 
its grasp upon the chair in which sat the woman I had 
wed. She was my wife, and I would keep my own. 

My lord had paused to speak to the Governor, who 
had risen to greet him. Now he came toward us, and 
the crowd pressed and whispered. He bowed low to 
Mistress Percy, made as if to pass on, then came to 
a stop before her, his hat in his hand, his handsome 
head bent, a smile upon his bearded lips. 


" When was it that we last sat to see men bowl, 
lady?" he said. "I remember a gay match when I 
bowled against my Lord of Buckingham, and fair 
ladies sat and smiled upon us. The fairest laughed, 
and tied her colors around my arm." 

The lady whom he addressed sat quietly, with hands 
folded in her silken lap and an untroubled face. " I 
did not know you then, my lord," she answered him, 
quite softly and sweetly. " Had I done so, be sure I 
would have cut my hand off ere it gave color of mine 
to" — 

" To whom ? " he demanded, as she paused. 

" To a coward, my lord," she said clearly. 

As if she had been a man, his hand went to his 
sword hilt. As for her, she leaned back in her chair 
and looked at him with a smile. - T^*' 1 *'* 1 * 

He spoke at last, slowly and with deliberate em- 
phasis. " I won then," he said. " I shall win again, 
my lady, — my Lady Jocelyn Leigh." 

I dropped my hand from her chair and stepped for- 
ward. "It is my wife to whom you speak, my Lord 
Carnal," I said sternly. " I wait to hear you name 
her rightly." 

Rolfe rose from the grass and stood beside me, and 
Jeremy Sparrow, shouldering aside with scant cere- 
mony Burgess and Councilor, came also. The Gov- 
ernor leaned forward out of his chair, and the crowd 
became suddenly very still. 

" I am waiting, my lord," I repeated. 

In an instant, from what he had been he became 
the frank and guileless nobleman. " A slip of the 
tongue, Captain Percy ! " he cried, his white teeth 
showing and his hand raised in a gesture of depreca- 
tion. " A natural thing, seeing how often, how very 


often, I have so addressed this lady in the days when 
we had not the pleasure of your acquaintance." He 
turned to her and bowed, until the feather in his hat 
swept the ground. " I won then," he said. " I shall 
win again — Mistress Percy," and passed on to the 
seat that had been reserved for him. 

The game began. I was to lead one side, and young 
Clement the other. At the last moment he came 
over to me. " I am out of it, Captain Percy," he 
announced with a rueful face. " My lord there asks 
me to give him my place. When we were hunting yes- 
terday, and the stag turned upon me, he came between 
and thrust his knife into the brute, which else might 
have put an end to my hunting forever and a day : so 
you see I can't refuse him. Plague take it all ! and 
Dorothy Grookin sitting there watching ! " 

My lord and I stood forward, each with a bowl in 
his hand. We looked toward the Governor. " My 
lord first, as becometh his rank," he said. My lord 
stooped and threw, and his bowl went swiftly over the 
grass, turned, and rested not a hands'-breadth from the 
jack. I threw. " One is as near as the other ! " cried 
Master Macocke for the judges. A murmur arose 
from the crowd, and my lord swore beneath his breath. 
He and I retreated to our several sides, and Rolfe 
and West took our places. While they and those that 
followed bowled, the crowd, attentive though it was, 
still talked and laughed, and laid wagers upon its 
favorites ; but when my lord and I again stood forth, 
the noise was hushed, and men and women stared with 
all their eyes. He delivered, and his bowl touched 
the jack. He straightened himself, with a smile, and 
I heard Jeremy Sparrow behind me groan ; but my 
bowl too kissed the jack. The crowd began to laugh 


with sheer delight, but my lord turned red and his 
brows drew together. We had but one turn more. 
While we waited, I marked his black eyes studying 
every inch of the ground between him and that small 
white ball, to strike which, at that moment, I verily 
believe he would have given the King's favor. All 
men pray, though they pray not to the same god. As 
he stood there, when his time had come, weighing 
the bowl in his hand, I knew that he prayed to his , ,-t 

daemon, fate, star, whatever thing he raised an altar to | „»«''" 
and bent before. He threw, and I followed, while the 
throng held its breath. Master Macocke rose to his 
feet. " It 's a tie, my masters ! " he exclaimed. 

The excited crowd surged forward, and a babel of 
voices arose. " Silence, all ! " cried the Governor. 
" Let them play it out! " 

My lord threw, and his bowl stopped perilously 
near the shining mark. As I stepped to my place a 
low and supplicating "O Lord !" came to my ears 
from the lips and the heart of the preacher, who had 
that morning thundered against the toys of this world. 
I drew back my arm and threw with all my force. 
A cry arose from the throng, and my lord ground 
his heel into the earth. The bowl, spurning the jack 
before it, rushed on, until both buried themselves in 
the red and yellow leaves that filled the trench. 

I turned and bowed to my antagonie^. " You bowl 
well, my lord," I said. " Had you had the forest 
training of eye and arm, our fortunes might have 
been reversed." O-"^ ' 

He looked me up and down. "You are kind, sir," **" -&* 
he said thickly. " ' To-day to thee, to-morrow to me.' Lt w &~ 
I give you joy of your petty victory." 

He turned squarely from me, and stood with his 


face downstream. I was speaking to Rolfe and to the 
few — not even all of that side for which I had won 

— who pressed around me, when he wheeled. 
"Your Honor," he cried to the Governor, who had 

paused beside Mistress Percy, " is not the Due Re- 
turn high-pooped ? Doth she not carry a blue pen- 
nant, and hath she not a gilt siren for figurehead ? " 

"Ay," answered the Governor, lifting his head 
from the hand he had kissed with ponderous gallantry. 
"What then, my lord?" 

"Then to-morrow has dawned, sir captain," said 
my lord to me. " Sure, Dame Venus and her blind 
son have begged for me favorable winds ; for the 
Due Return has come again." 

The game that had been played was forgotten for 
that day. The hogshead of sweet-scented, lying to 
one side, wreathed with bright vines, was unclaimed 
of either party ; the servants who brought forward 
the keg of canary dropped their burden, and stared 
with the rest. All looked down the river, and all saw 
the Due Return coming up the broad, ruffled stream, 
the wind from the sea filling her sails, the tide with 
her, the gilt mermaid on her prow just rising from the 
rushing foam. She came as swiftly as a bird to its 
nest. None had thought to see her for at least ten days. 

Upon all there fell a sudden realization that it was 
the word of the King, feathered by the command of 
the Company, that was hurrying, arrow-like, toward 
us. All knew what the Company's orders would be, 

— must needs be, — and the Tudor sovereigns were 
not so long in the grave that men had forgot to fear 
the wrath of kings. The crowd drew back from me 
as from a man plague-spotted. Only Rolfe, Sparrow, 
and the Indian stood their ground. 


The Governor turned from staring downstream. 
"The game is played, gentlemen," he announced 
abruptly. " The wind grows colder, too, and clouds 
are gathering. This fair company will pardon me if 
I dismiss them somewhat sooner than is our wont. 
The next sunny day we will play again. Give you 
God de", gentles." 

The crowd stood not upon the order of its going, 
but streamed away to the river bank, whence it could 
best watch the oncoming ship. My lord, after a most 
triumphant bow, swept off with his train in the di- 
rection of the guest house. With him went Master 
Pory. The Governor drew nearer to me. " Captain 
Percy," he said, lowering his voice, " I am going now 
to mine own house. The letters which yonder ship 
brings will be in my hands in less than an hour. 
When I have read them, I shall perforce obey their 
instructions. Before I have them I will see you, if 
you so wish." 

" I will be with your Honor in five minutes." 

He nodded, and strode off across the green to his 
garden. I turned to Rolfe. " Will you take her 
home ? " I said briefly. She was so white and sat so 
still in her chair that I feared to see her swoon. But 
when I spoke to her she answered clearly and stead- 
ily enough, even with a smile, and she would not lean 
upon Rolfe's arm. " I will walk alone," she said. , 
" None that see me shall think that I am stricken 
down." I watched her move away, Rolfe beside her, * 
and the Indian following with his noiseless step ; then 
I went to the Governor's house. Master Jeremy 
Sparrow had disappeared some minutes before, I 
knew not whither. 

I found Yeardley in his great room, standing before 


a fire and staring down into its hollows. " Captain 
Percy," he said, as I went up to him, " I am most 
heartily sorry for you and for the lady whom you so 
ignorantly married." 

" I shall not plead ignorance," I told him. 

" You married, not the Lady Jocelyn Leigh, but a 
waiting woman named Patience Worth. The Lady 
Jocelyn Leigh, a noble lady, and a ward of the King, 
could not marry without the King's consent. And 
you, Captain Percy, are but a mere private gentleman, 
a poor Virginia adventurer ; and my Lord Carnal is 
— my Lord Carnal. The Court of High Commission 
will make short work of this fantastic marriage." 

" Then they may do it without my aid," I said. 
" Come, Sir George, had you wed my Lady Temper- 
ance in such fashion, and found this hornets' nest 
about your ears, what would you have done ? " 

He gave his short, honest laugh. " It 's beside the 
question, Ralph Percy, but I dare say you can guess 
what I would have done." 

" I '11 fight for my own to the last ditch," I con- 
tinued. " I married her knowing her name, if not 
her quality. Had I known the latter, had I known 
she was the King's ward, all the same I should have 
married her, an she would have had me. She is my 
wife in the sight of God and honest men. Esteeming 
her honor, which is mine, at stake, Death may silence 
me, but men shall not bend me." 

" Your best hope is in my Lord of Buckingham," 
he said. " They say it is out of sight, out of mind, 
with the King, and, thanks to this infatuation of my 
Lord Carnal's, Buckingham hath the field. That he 
strains every nerve to oust completely this his first 
rival since he himself distanced Somerset goes without 


saying. That to thwart my lord in this passion would 
be honey to him is equally of course. I do not need 
to tell you that, if the Company so orders, I shall 
have no choice but to send you and the lady home to 
England. When you are in London, make your suit 
to my Lord of Buckingham, and I earnestly hope 
that you may find in him an ally powerful enough to 
bring you and the lady, to whose grace, beauty, and 
courage we all do homage, out of this coil." 

"We give you thanks, sir," I said. 

" As you know," he went on, " I have written to 
the Company, humbly petitioning that I be graciously 
relieved from a most thankless task, to wit, the gov- 
ernorship of Virginia. My health faileth, and I am, 
moreover, under my Lord Warwick's displeasure. 
He waxeth ever stronger in the Company, and if I 
put not myself out, he will do it for me. If I be re- 
lieved at once, and one of the Council appointed in 
my place, I shall go home to look after certain of my 
interests there. Then shall I be but a private gentle- 
man, and if I can serve you, Ralph Percy, I shall be 
blithe to do so ; but now, you understand " — ■ 

" I understand, and thank you, Sir George," I said. 
" May I ask one question ? " 

"What is it?" 

" Will you obey to the letter the instructions the 
Company sends ? " 

" To the letter," he answered. " I am its sworn 

" One thing more," I went on : " the parole I gave 
you, sir, that morning behind the church, is mine own 
again when you shall have read those letters and 
know the King's will. I am free from that bond, at 


He looked at me with a frown. " Make not bad 
worse, Captain Percy," he said sternly. 

I laughed. " It is my aim to make bad better, Sir 
George. I see through the window that the Due Re- 
turn hath come to anchor ; I will no longer trespass 
on your Honor's time." I bowed myself out, leaving 
him still with the frown upon his face, staring at the 

Without, the world was bathed in the glow of a 
magnificent sunset. Clouds, dark purple and dark 
crimson, reared themselves in the west to dizzy heights, 
and hung threateningly over the darkening land be- 
neath. In the east loomed more pallid masses, and 
from the bastions of the east to the bastions of the 
west went hurrying, wind-driven cloudlets, dark in 
the east, red in the west. There was a high wind, and 
the river, where it was not reddened by the sunset, 
J was lividly green. " A storm, too ! " I muttered. 
' As I passed the guest house, there came to me from 
within a burst of loud and vaunting laughter and a 
boisterous drinking catch sung by many voices ; and I 
knew that my lord drank, and gave others to drink, to 
the orders which the Due Return should bring. The 
minister's house was in darkness. In the great room 
I struck a light and fired the fresh torches, and found 
I was not its sole occupant. On the hearth, the ashes 
of the dead fire touching her skirts, sat Mistress Joce- 
lyn Percy, her arms resting upon a low stool, and her 
head pillowed upon them. Her face was not hidden : 
it was cold and pure and still, like carven marble. I 
stood and gazed at her a moment ; then, as she did 
not offer to move, I brought wood to the fire and made 
the forlorn room bright again. 

" Where is Rolfe ? " I asked at last. 


" He would have stayed," she answered, " but I 
made him go. I wished to be alone." She rose, and 
going to the window leaned her forehead against the 
bars, and looked out upon the wild sky and the hur- 
rying river. " I would I were alone," she said in a 
low voice and with a catch of her breath. As she 
stood there in the twilight by the window, I knew that 
she was weeping, though her pride strove to keep that 
knowledge from me. My heart ached for her, and I 
knew not how to comfort her. At last she turned. A 
pasty and stoup of wine were upon the table. 

" You are tired and shaken," I said, " and you may 
need all your strength. Come, eat and drink." 

" For to-morrow we die," she added, and broke into 
tremulous laughter. Her lashes were still wet, but 
her pride and daring had returned. She drank the 
wine I poured for her, and we spoke of indifferent 
things, — of the game that afternoon, of the Indian 
Nantauquas, of the wild night that clouds and wind 
portended. Supper over, I called Angela to bear her 
company, and I myself went out into the night, and 
down the street toward the aruest house. 



The guest house was aflame with lights. As 1 
neared it, there was borne to my ears a burst of 
drunken shouts accompanied by a volley of musketry. 
My lord was pursuing with a vengeance our senseless 
fashion of wasting in drinking bouts powder that 
would have been better spent against the Indians. 
The noise increased. The door was flung open, and 
there issued a tide of drawers and servants headed by 
mine host himself, and followed by a hail of such 
minor breakables as the house contained and by 
Olympian laughter. 

I made my way past the indignant host and his 
staff, and standing upon the threshold looked at 
the riot within. The long room was thick with the 
smoke of tobacco and the smoke of powder, through 
which the many torches burned yellow. Upon the 
great table wine had been spilt, and dripped to swell 
a red pool upon the floor. Underneath the table, still 
grasping his empty tankard, lay the first of my lord's 
guests to fall, an up-river Burgess with white hair. 
The rest of the company were fast reeling to a like 
fate. Young Hamor had a fiddle, and, one foot upon 
a settle, the other upon the table, drew across it a fast 
and furious bow. Master Pory, arrived at the maud- 
lin stage, alternately sang a slow and melancholy ditty 
and wiped the tears from his eyes with elaborate care. 


Master Edward Sharpless, now in a high voice, now 
in an undistinguishable murmur, argued some imagi- 
nary case. Peaceable Sherwood was drunk, and Giles 
Allen, and Pettiplace Clause. Captain John Martin, 
sitting with outstretched legs, called now for a fresh 
tankard, which he emptied at a gulp ; now for his 
pistols, which, as fast as my lord's servants brought 
them to him new primed, he discharged at the ceiling. 
The loud wind rattled doors and windows, and made 
the flame of the torches stream sideways. The music 
grew madder and madder, the shots more frequent, 
the drunken voices thicker and louder. 

The master of the feast carried his wine better than 
did his guests, or had drunk less, but his spirit too 
was quite without bounds. A color burned in his 
cheeks, a wicked light in his eyes ; he laughed to him- 
self. In the gray smoke cloud he saw me not, or saw 
me only as one of the many who thronged the door- 
way and stared at the revel within. He raised his 
silver cup with a slow and wavering hand. " Drink, 
you dogs ! " he chanted. " Drink to the Santa Te- 
resa ! Drink to to-morrow night ! Drink to a proud 
lady within my arms and an enemy in my power ! " 

The wine that had made him mad had maddened 
those others, also. In that hour they were dead to 
hnnnr. With shameless laughter and as little spilling 
as might be, they raised their tankards as my lord 
raised his. A stone thrown by some one behind me 
struck the cup from my lord's hand, sending it clat- 
tering to the floor and dashing him with the red wine. 
Master Pory roared with drunken laughter. " Cup 
and lip missed that time ! " he cried. 

The man who had thrown the stone was Jeremy 
Sparrow. For one instant I saw his great figure, and 


the wrathful face beneath his shock of grizzled hair ; 
the next he had made his way through the crowd of 
gaping menials and was gone. 

My lord stared foolishly at the stains upon his 
hands, at the fallen goblet and the stone beside it. 
" Cogged dice," he said thickly, " or I had not lost 
that throw ! I '11 drink that toast by myself to-mor- 
row night, when the ship does n't rock like this d — d 
floor, and the sea has no stones to throw. More wine, 
Giles ! To my Lord High Admiral, gentlemen ! To 
his Grace of Buckingham ! May he shortly howl in 
hell, and looking back to Whitehall see me upon the 
King's bosom ! The King 's a good king, gentlemen ! 
He gave me this ruby. D' ye know what I had of 
him last year ? I " — 

I turned and left the door and the house. I could 
not thrust a fight upon a dronken man. 

Ten yards away, suddenly and without any warning 
of his approach, I found beside me the Indian Nan- 
tauquas. " I have been to the woods to hunt," he 
said, in the slow musical English Rolfe had taught 
him. " I knew where a panther lodged, and to-day I 
laid a snare, and took him in it. I brought him to my 
brother's house, and caged him there. When I have 
tamed him, I shall give him to the beautiful lady." 

He expected no answer, and I gave him none. 
(There are times when an Indian is the best company 
in the world. 

Just before we reached the market place we had to 
pass the mouth of a narrow lane leading down to the 
river. The night was very dark, though the stars still 
shone through rifts in the ever moving clouds. The 
Indian and I walked rapidly on, — my footfalls sound- 
ing clear and sharp on the frosty ground, he as noise- 


less as a shadow. We had reached the further side 
of the lane, when he put forth an arm and plucked 
from the blackness a small black figure. 

In the middle of the square was kept burning a 
great brazier filled with pitched wood. It was the 
duty of the watch to keep it flaming from darkness to 
dawn. We found it freshly heaped with pine, and its 
red glare lit a goodly circle. The Indian, pinioning 
the wrists of his captive with his own hand of steel, 
dragged him with us into this circle of light. 

" Looking for simples once more, learned doctor ? " 
I demanded. 

He mowed and jabbered, twisting this way and that 
in the grasp of the Indian. 

" Loose him," I said to the latter, " but let him not 
come too near you. Why, worthy doctor, in so wild 
and threatening a night, when fire is burning and wine 
flowing at the guest house, do you choose to crouch 
here in the cold and darkness ? " 

He looked at me with his filmy eyes, and that faint 
smile that had more of menace in it than a panther's 
snarl. " I laid in wait for you, it is true, noble sir," 
he said in Ins thin, dreamy voice, " but it was for your 
good. I would give you warning, sir." 

He stood with his mean figure bent cringingly for- 
ward, and with his hat in his hand. " A warning, 
sir," he went ramblingly on. " Maybe a certain one 
has made me his enemy. Maybe I cut myself loose 
from his service. Maybe I would do him an ill turn. 
I can tell you a secret, sir." He lowered his voice 
and looked around, as if in fear of eavesdroppers. 
" In your ear, sir," he said. 

I recoiled. " Stand back," I cried, " or you will 
cull no more simples this side of hell ! " 


" Hell ! " he answered. " There 's no such place. 
I will not tell my secret aloud." 

" Nicolo the Italian ! Nicolo the Poisoner ! Ni- 
colo the Black Death ! I am coming for the soul you 
sold me. There is a hell ! " 

The thundering voice came from underneath our 
feet. With a sound that was not a groan and not a 
screech, the Italian reeled back against the heated iron 
of the brazier. Starting from that fiery contact with 
an unearthly shriek, he threw up his arms and dashed 
away into the darkness. The sound of his madly hur- 
rying footsteps came back to us until the guest house 
had swallowed him and his guilty terrors. 

" Can the preacher play the devil too ? " I asked, 
as Sparrow came up to us from the other side of the 
fire. " I could have sworn that that voice came from 
the bowels of the earth. 'T is the strangest gift ! " 

" A mere trick," he said, with his great laugh, " but 
it has served me well on more occasions than one. It 
is not known in Virginia, sir, but before ever the word 
of the Lord came to me to save poor silly souls I was 
a player. Once I played the King's ghost in Will 
La. I Shakespeare's ' Hamlet,' and then, I warrant you, I 
spoke from the cellarage indeed. I so frighted players 
and playgoers that they swore it was witchcraft, and 
Burbage's knees did knock together in dead earnest. 
But to the matter in hand. When I had thrown 
yonder stone, I walked quietly down to the Gov- 
ernor's house and looked through the window. The 
Governor hath the Company's letters, and he and the 
Council — all save the reprobate Pory — sit there 
staring at them and drumming with their fingers on 
the table." 

"Is Rolfe of the Council? " I asked. 


" Ay ; lie was speaking, — for you, I suppose, 
though I heard not the words. They all listened, but 
they all shook their heads." 

" We shall know in the morning," I said. " The 
night grows wilder, and honest folks should be abed. 
Nantauquas, good-night. When will you have tamed 
your panther ? " 

" It is now the moon of cohonks," answered the 
Indian. " When the moon of blossoms is here, the 
panther shall roll at the beautiful lady's feet." 

" The moon of blossoms ! " I said. The moon of 
blossoms is a long way off. I have panthers myself 
to tame before it comes. This wild night gives one 
wild thoughts, Master Sparrow. The loud wind, and 
the sound of the water, and the hurrying clouds — 
who knows if we shall ever see the moon of blos- 
soms ? " I broke off with a laugh for my own weak- 
ness. " It 's not often that a soldier thinks of death," 
I said. " Come to bed, reverend sir. Nantauquas, 
again, good-night, and may you tame your panther ! " 

In the great room of the minister's house I paced 
up and down ; now pausing at the windpw, to look 
out upon the fast darkening houses of the town, the 
ever thickening clouds, and the bending trees ; now 
speaking to my wife, who sat in the chair I had drawn 
for her before the fire, her hands idle in her lap, her 
head thrown back against the wood, her face white 
and still, with wide dark eyes. We waited for we 
knew not what, but the light still burned in the Gov- 
ernor's house, and we could not sleep and leave it 

It grew later and later. The wind howled down 
the chimney, and I heaped more wood upon the fire. 
The town lay in darkness now ; only in the distance 


burned like an angry star the light in the Govern- 
or's house. In the lull between the blasts of wind it 
was so very still that the sound of my footfalls upon 
the floor, the dropping of the charred wood upon the 
hearth, the tapping of the withered vines without the 
window, jarred like thunder. 

Suddenly madam leaned forward in her chair. 
" There is some one at the door," she said. 

As she spoke, the latch rose and some one pushed 
heavily against the door. I had drawn the bars across. 
" Who is it ? " I demanded, going to it. 

" It is Diccon, sir," replied a guarded voice outside. 
" I beg of you, for the lady's sake, to let me speak to 

I opened the door, and he crossed the threshold. 
I had not seen him since the night he would have 
played the assassin. I had heard of him as being in 
Martin's Hundred, with which plantation and its tur- 
bulent commander the debtor and the outlaw often 
found sanctuary. 

" What is it, sirrah ? " I inquired sternly. 

He stood with his eyes upon the floor, twirling his 
cap in his hands. He had looked once at madam 
when he entered, but not at me. When he spoke there 
was the old bravado in his voice, and he threw up his 
head with the old reckless gesture. " Though I am 
no longer your man, sir," he said, " yet I hope that 
one Christian may warn another. The marshal, with 
a dozen men at his heels, will be here anon." 

" How do you know ? " 

'* Why, I was in the shadow by the Governor's win- 
dow when the parson played eavesdropper. When he 
was gone I drew myself up to the ledge, and with 
my knife made a hole in the shutter that fitted my 


ear well enough. The Governor and the Council sat 
there, with the Company's letters spread upon the 
table. I heard the letters read. Sir George Yeard- 
ley's petition to be released from the governorship of 
Virginia is granted, but he will remain in office until 
the new Governor, Sir Francis Wyatt, can arrive in 
Virginia. The Company is out of favor. The King 
hath sent Sir Edwyn Sandys to the Tower. My Lord 
Warwick waxeth greater every day. The very life of 
the Company dependeth upon the pleasure of the 
King, and it may not defy him. You are to be taken 
into custody within six hours of the reading of the 
letter, to be kept straitly until the sailing of the Santa 
Teresa, and to be sent home aboard of her in irons. 
The lady is to go also, with all honor, and with women 
to attend her. Upon reaching London, you are to be 
sent to the Tower, the lady to Whitehall. The Court 
of High Commission will take the matter under con- 
sideration at once. My Lord of Southampton writes 
that, because of the urgent entreaty of Sir George 
Yeardley, he will do for you all that lieth in his 
power, but that if you prove not yourself conforma- 
ble, there will be little that any can do." 

" When will the marshal be here ? " I demanded. 

" Directly. The Governor was sending for him 
when I left the window. Master Rolfe spoke vehe- 
mently for you, and would have left the Council to 
come to you ; but the Governor, swearing that the 
Company should not be betrayed by its officers, con- 
strained him to remain. I 'm not the Company's 
officer, so I may tell its orders if I please. A master- 
less man may speak without fear or favor. I have 
told you all I know." Before I could speak he was 
gone, closing the door heavily behind him. 


I turned to the King's ward. She had risen from 
the chair, and now stood in the centre of the room, 
one hand at her bosom, the other clenched at her side, 
her head thrown up. She looked as she had looked 
at Weyanoke, that first night. 

" Madam," I said under my breath. 

She turned her face upon me. " Did you think,' 1 
she asked in a low, even voice, — " did you think that 
I would ever set my foot upon that ship, — that ship 
on the river there ? One ship brought me here upon 
a shameful errand ; another shall not take me upon 
one more shameful still." 

She took her hand from her bosom ; in it gleamed 
in the firelight the small dagger I had given her that 
night. She laid it on the table, but kept her hand 
upon it. " You will choose for me, sir," she declared. 

I went to the door and looked out. " It is a wild 
night," I said. " I can suit it with as wild an enter- 
prise. Make a bundle of your warmest clothing, 
madam, and wrap your mantle about you. Will you 
take Angela? " 

" No," she answered. " I will not have her peril 
too upon me." 

As she stood there, her hand no longer upon the 
dagger, the large tears welled into her eyes and fell 
slowly over her white cheeks. " It is for mine honor, 
sir," she said. " I know that I ask your death." 

I could not bear to see her weep, and so I spoke 
roughly. " I have told you before," I said, " that 
your honor is my honor. Do you think I would sleep 
to-morrow night, in the hold of the Santa Teresa, 
knowing that my wife supped with my Lord Car- 

I crossed the room to take my pistols from the 


rack. As I passed her she caught my hand in hers, 
and bending pressed her lips upon it. " You have 
been very good to me," she murmured. "Do not 
think me an ingrate." 

Five minutes later she came from her own room, 
hooded and mantled, and with a packet of clothing in 
her hand. I extinguished the torches, then opened 
the door. As we crossed the threshold, we paused as 
by one impulse and looked back into the firelit warmth 
of the room ; then I closed the door softly behind us, 
and we went out into the night. 



The wind, which had heretofore come in fierce 
blasts, was now steadying to a gale. What with the 
flying of the heaped clouds, the slanting, groaning 
pines, and the rushing of the river, the whole earth 
seemed a fugitive, fleeing breathless to the sea. From 
across the neck of land came the long-drawn howl of 
wolves, and in the wood beyond the church a cata- 
mount screamed and screamed. The town before us 
lay as dark and as still as the grave ; from the garden 
where we were we could not see the Governor's house. 

" I will carry madam's bundle," said a voice be- 
hind us. 

It was the minister who had spoken, and he now 
stood beside us. There was a moment's silence, then 
I said, with a laugh : " We are not going upon a 
summer jaunt, friend Sparrow. There is a warm fire 
in the great room, to which your reverence had best 
betake yourself out of this windy night." 

As he made no movement to depart, but instead 
possessed himself of Mistress Percy's bundle, I spoke 
again, with some impatience : " We are no longer of 
your fold, reverend sir, but are bound for another 
parish. We give you hearty thanks for your hospi- 
tality, and wish you a very good night." 

As I spoke I would have taken the bundle from 
him, but he tucked it under his arm, and, passing us, 


opened the garden gate. " Did I forget to tell you," 
he said, "that worthy Master Bucke is well of the 
fever, and returns to his own to-morrow ? His house 
and church are no longer mine. I have no charge 
anywhere. I am free and footloose. May I not go 
with you, madam? There may be dragons to slay, 
and two can guard a distressed princess better than 
one. Will you take me for your squire, Captain 

He held out his great hand, and after a moment I 
put my own in it. 

We left the garden and struck into a lane. " The 
river, then, instead of the forest?" he asked in a low 

"Ay," I answered. " Of the two evils it seems the 

" How about a boat ? " 

" My own is fastened to the piles of the old de- 
serted wharf." 

" You have with you neither food nor water." 

" Both are in the boat. I have kept her victualed 
for a week or more." 

He laughed in the darkness, and I heard my wife 
beside me utter a stifled exclamation. 

The lane that we were now in ran parallel to the 
street to within fifty yards of the guest house, when 
it bent sharply down to the river. We moved silently 
and with caution, for some night bird might accost 
us or the watch come upon us. In the guest house 
all was darkness save one room, — the upper room, 
— from which came a very pale light. When we had 
turned with the lane there were no houses to pass ; 
only gaunt pines and copses of sumach. I took my 
wife by the hand and hurried her on. A hundred 


yards before us ran the river, dark and turbulent, and 
between us and it rose an old, unsafe, and abandoned 
landing. Sparrow laid bis hand upon my arm. 
" Footsteps behind us," he whispered. 

Without slackening pace I turned my head and 
looked. The clouds, high around the horizon, were 
thinning overhead, and the moon, herself invisible, 
yet lightened the darkness below. The sandy lane 
stretched behind us like a ribbon of twilight, — no- 
thing to be seen but it and the ebony mass of bush 
and tree lining it on either side. We hastened on. 
A minute later and we heard behind us a sound like 
the winding of a small horn, clear, shrill, and sweet. 
Sparrow and I wheeled — and saw nothing. The 
trees ran down to the very edge of the wharf, upon 
whose rotten, loosened, and noisy boards we now trod. 
Suddenly the clouds above us broke, and the moon 
shone forth, whitening the mountainous clouds, the 
ridged and angry river, and the low, tree-fringed 
shore. Below us, fastened to the piles and rocking 
with the waves, was the open boat in which we were 
to embark. A few broken steps led from the boards 
above to the water below. Descending these I sprang 
into the boat and held out my arms for Mistress 
Percy. Sparrow gave her to me, and I lifted her 
down beside me; then turned to give what aid I 
might to the minister, who was halfway down the 
steps — and faced my Lord Carnal. 

What devil had led him forth on such a night; 
why he, whom with my own eyes, three hours agone, 
I had seen drunken, should have chosen, after his 
carouse, cold air and his own company rather than 
sleep ; when and where he first spied us, how long he 
had followed us, I have never known. Perhaps he 


could not sleep for triumph, had heard of my impend- 
ing arrest, had come forth to add to the bitterness of 
my cup by his presence, and so had happened upon 
us. He could only have guessed at those he followed, 
until he reached the edge of the wharf and looked 
down upon us in the moonlight. For a moment he ' 
stood without moving ; then he raised his hand to his 
lips, and the shrill call that had before startled us 
rang out again. At the far end of the lane lights ap- 
peared. Men were coming down the lane at a run ; 
whether they were the watch, or my lord's own rogues, 
we tarried not to see. There was not time to loosen 
the rope from the piles, so I drew my knife to cut it. 
My lord saw the movement, and sprang down the 
steps, at the same time shouting to the men behind to 
hasten. Sparrow, grappling with him, locked him in 
a giant's embrace, lifted him bodily from the steps, 
and flung him into the boat. His head struck against 
a thwart, and he lay, huddled beneath it, quiet enough. 
The minister sprang after him, and I cut the rope. 
By now the wharf shook with running feet, and the 
backward-streaming flame of the torches reddened its 
boards and the black water beneath ; but each instant 
the water widened between us and our pursuers. 
Wind and current swept us out, and at that wharf 
there were no boats to follow us. 

Those whom my lord's whistle had brought were 
now upon the very edge of the wharf. The marshal's 
voice called upon us in the name of the King to re- 
turn. Finding that we vouchsafed no answer, he 
pulled out a pistol and fired, the ball going through J 
my hat ; then whipped out its fellow and fired again. 
Mistress Percy, whose behavior had been that of an 
angel, stirred in her seat. I did not know until the 


day broke that the ball had grazed her arm, drench- 
ing her sleeve with blood. 

"It is time we were away," I said, with a laugh. 
" If your reverence will keep your hand upon the 
tiller and your eye upon the gentleman whom you 
have made our traveling companion, I '11 put up the 

I was on my way to the foremast, when the boom 
lying prone before me rose. Slowly and majestically 
the sail ascended, tapering upward, silvered by the 
moon, — the great white pinion which should bear us 
we knew not whither. I stopped short in my tracks, 
Mistress Percy drew a sobbing breath, and the minis- 
ter gasped with admiration. We all three stared as 
though the white cloth had veritably been a monster 
wingr endowed with life. 

" Sails don't rise of themselves ! " I exclaimed, and 
was at the mast before the words were out of my lips. 
Crouched behind it was a man. I should have known 
him even without the aid of the moon. Often enough, 
God knows, I had seen him crouched like this beside 
me, ourselves in ambush awaiting some unwary foe, 
brute or human ; or ourselves in hiding, holding our 
breath lest it should betray us. The minister who 
had been a player, the rival who would have poisoned 
me, the servant who would have stabbed me, the wife 
who was wife in name only, — mine were strange 

He rose to his feet and stood there against the mast, 
in the old half-submissive, half-defiant attitude, with 
his head thrown back in the old way. 

" If you order me, sir, I will swim ashore," he said, 
half sullenly, half — I know not how. 

" You would never reach the shore," I replied. 


" And you know that I will never order you again. 
Stay here if you please, or come aft if you please." 

I went back and took the tiller from Sparrow. We 
were now in mid-river, and the swollen stream and 
the strong wind bore us on with them like a leaf 
before the gale. We left behind the lights and the 
clamor, the dark town and the silent fort, the weary 
Due Return and the shipping about the lower wharf. 
Before us loomed the Santa Teresa ; we passed so 
close beneath her huge black sides that we heard the 
wind whistling through her rigging. When she, too, 
was gone, the river lay bare before us ; silver when 
the moon shone, of an inky blackness when it was 
obscured by one of the many flying clouds. 

My wife wrapped her mantle closer about her, and, 
leaning back in her seat in the stern beside me, raised 
her face to the wild and solemn heavens. Diccon 
sat apart in the bow and held his tongue. The min- 
ister bent over, and, lifting the man that lay in the 
bottom of the boat, laid him at full length upon the 
thwart before us. The moonlight streamed down 
upon the prostrate figure. I think it could never 
have shone upon a more handsome or a more wicked 
man. He lay there in his splendid dress and dark 
beauty, Endymion-like, beneath the moon. The 
King's ward turned her eyes upon him, kept them 
there a moment, then glanced away, and looked at 
him no more. 

" There ' s a parlous lump upon his forehead where 
it struck the thwart," said the minister, " but the life 's 
yet in him. He '11 shame honest men for many a day 
to come. Your Platonists, who from a goodly out- 
side argue as fair a soul, could never have been ac- 
quainted with this gentleman." 


The subject of his discourse moaned and stirred. 
The minister raised one of the hanging hands and felt 
for the pulse. " Faint enough," he went on. " A 
little more and the King might have waited for his 
minion forever and a day. It would have been the 
better for us, who have now, indeed, a strange fish 
upon our hands, but I am glad I killed him not." 

I tossed him a flask. " It 's good aqua vitae, and 
the flask is honest. Give him to drink of it." 

He forced the liquor between my lord's teeth, then 
dashed water in his face. Another minute and the 
King's favorite sat up and looked around him. Dazed 
as yet, he stared, with no comprehension in his eyes, 
at the clouds, the sail, the rushing water, the dark 
figures about him. " Nicolo ! " he cried sharply. 

" He 's not here, my lord," I said. 

At the sound of my voice he sprang to his feet. 

*' I should advise your lordship to sit still," I said. 
" The wind is very boisterous, and we are not under 
bare poles. If you exert yourself, you may capsize 
the boat." 

He sat down mechanically, and put his hand to 
his forehead. I watched him curiously. It was the 
strangest trick that fortune had played him. 

His hand dropped at last, and he straightened him- 
self, with a long breath. " Who threw me into the 
boat ? " he demanded. 

" The honor was mine," declared the minister. 

The King's minion lacked not the courage of the 
body, nor, when passionate action had brought him 
naught, a certain reserve force of philosophy. He 
now did the best thing he could have done, — burst 
into a roar of laughter. " Zooks ! " he cried. " It 's 
as good a comedy as ever I saw ! How 's the pla} r to 


end, captain ? Are we to go off laughing, or is the 
end to be bloody after all ? For instance, is there 
murder to be done ? " He looked at me boldly, one 
hand on his hip, the other twirling his mustaches. 

" We are not all murderers, my lord," I told him. 
" For the present you are in no danger other than 
that which is common to us all." 

He looked at the clouds piling behind us, thicker 
and thicker, higher and higher, at the bending mast, 
at the black water swirling now and again over the 
gunwales. " It 's enough," he muttered. 

I beckoned to Diccon, and putting the tiller into his 
hands went forward to reef the sail. When it was 
done and I was back in my place, my lord spoke again. 

" Where are we going, captain ?" 

" I don't know." 

" If you leave that sail up much longer, you will 
land us at the bottom of the river." 

" There are worse places," I replied. 

He left his seat, and moved, though with caution, 
to one nearer Mistress Percy. " Are cold and storm 
and peril sweeter to you, lady, than warmth and safety, 
and a love that would guard you from, not run you into, 
danger?" he said in a whisper. "Do you not wish 
this boat the Santa Teresa, these rude boards the vel- 
vet cushions of her state cabin, this darkness her many 
lights, this cold her warmth, with the night shut out 
and love shut in ? " 

His audacity, if it angered me, yet made me laugh. 
Not so with the King's ward. She shrank from him 
until she pressed against the tiller. Our flight, the 
pursuing feet, the struggle at the wharf, her wounded 
arm of which she had not told, the terror of the white 
sail rising as if by magic, the vision of the man she 


hated lying as one dead before her in the moonlight, 
the cold, the hurry of the night, — small wonder if 
her spirit failed her for a time. I felt her hand touch 
mine where it rested upon the tiller. " Captain Percy," 
she murmured, with a little sobbing breath. 

I leaned across the tiller and addressed the xavorite. 
" My lord," I said, " courtesy to prisoners is one thing, 
and freedom from restraint and license of tongue is 
another. Here at the stern the boat is somewhat 
heavily freighted. Your lordship will oblige me if 
you will go forward where there is room enough and 
to spare." 

His black brows drew together. " And what if I 
refuse, sir ? " he demanded haughtily. 

" I have rope here," I answered, " and to aid me the 
gentleman who once before to-night, and in despite of 
your struggles, lifted you in his arms like an infant. 
We will tie you hand and foot, and lay you in the 
bottom of the boat. If you make too much trouble, 
there is always the river. My lord, you are not now 
at Whitehall. You are with desperate men, outlaws 
who have no king, and so fear no king's minions. 
Will you go free, or will you go bound ? Go you 
shall, one way or the other." 

He looked at me with rage and hatred in his face. 
Then, with a laugh that was not good to hear and 
a shrug of the shoulders, he went forward to bear 
Diccon company in the bow. 



" God walketh upon the sea as lie walketh upon the 
land," said the minister. " The sea is his and we are 
his. He will do what it liketh him with his own." 
As he spoke he looked with a steadfast soul into the 
black hollow of the wave that combed above us, 
threatening destruction. 

The wave broke, and the boat still lived. Borne 
high upon the shoulder of the next rolling hill, we 
looked north, south, east, and west, and saw only 
a waste of livid, ever forming, ever breaking waves, a 
gray sky streaked with darker gray shifting vapor, 
and a horizon impenetrably veiled. Where we were 
in the great bay, in what direction we were being 
driven, how near we might be to the open sea or to 
some fatal shore, we knew not. What we did know 
was that both masts were gone, that we must bail the 
boat without ceasing if we would keep it from swamp- 
ing, that the wind was doing an apparently impossible 
thing and rising higher and higher, and that the waves 
which buffeted us from one to the other were hourly 
swelling to a more monstrous bulk. 

We had come into the wider waters at dawn, and 
still under canvas. An hour later, off Point Comfort, 
a bare mast contented us ; we had hardly gotten the 
sail in when mast and all went overboard. That had 
been hours ago. 


A common peril is a mighty leveler of barriers. 
Scant time was there in that boat to make distinction 
between friend and foe. As one man we fought the 
element which would devour us. Each took his turn 
at the bailing, each watched for the next great wave 
before which we must cower, clinging with numbed 
hands to gunwale and thwart. We fared alike, toiled 
alike, and suffered alike, only that the minister and 
I cared for Mistress Percy, asking no help from the 

The King's ward endured all without a murmur. 
She was cold, she was worn with watching and terror, 
she was wounded ; each moment Death raised his arm 
to strike, but she sat there dauntless, and looked him 
in the face with a smile upon her own. If, wearied 
out, we had given up the fight, her look would have 
spurred us on to wrestle with our fate to the last gasp. 
She sat between Sparrow and me, and as best we 
might we shielded her from the drenching seas and 
the icy wind. Morning had shown me the blood upon 
her sleeve, and I had cut away the cloth from the 
white arm, and had washed the wound with wine and 
bound it up. If, for my fee, I should have liked to 
press my lips upon the blue-veined marble, still I did 
it not. 

When, a week before, I had stored the boat with 
food and drink and had brought it to that lonely 
wharf, I had thought that if at the last my wife willed 
to flee I would attempt to reach the bay, and passing 
out between the capes would go to the north. Given 
an open boat and the tempestuous seas of November, 
there might be one chance out of a hundred of our 
reaching Manhattan and the Dutch, who might or 
might not give us refuge. She had willed to flee, and 

n*Yi *.«s ,^^'-'' ,h 



we were upon our journey, and the one chance had 
vanished. That wan, monotonous, cold, and clinging 
mist had shrouded us for our burial, and our grave 
yawned beneath us. 

The day passed and the night came, and still we 
fought the sea, and still the wind drove us whither 
it would. The night passed and the second morning 
came, and found us yet alive. My wife lay now at 
my feet, her head pillowed upon the bundle she had 
brought from the minister's house. Too weak for 
speech, waiting in pain and cold and terror for death 
to bring her warmth and life, the knightly spirit yet 
lived in her eyes, and she smiled when I bent over 
her with wine to moisten her lips. At length she 
began to wander in her mind, and to speak of sum- 
mer days and flowers. A hand held my heart in a 
slowly tightening grip of iron, and the tears ran down 
the minister's cheeks. The man who had darkened 
her young life, bringing her to this, looked at her with 
an ashen face. 

As the day wore on, the gray of the sky paled to a 
dead man's hue and the wind lessened, but the waves 
were still mountain high. One moment we poised, 
like the gulls that now screamed about us, upon some 
giddy summit, the sky alone above and around us ; 
the next we sank into dark green and glassy caverns. 
Suddenly the wind fell away, veered, and rose again 
like a giant refreshed. 

Diccon started, put his hand to his ear, then sprang 
to his feet. " Breakers ! " he cried hoarsely. 

We listened with straining ears. He was right. 
The low, ominous murmur changed to a distant roar, 
grew louder yet, and yet louder, and was no longer 


" It will be the sand islets off Cape Charles, sir," 
he said. I nodded. He and I knew there was no 
need of words. 

The sky grew paler and paler, and soon upon the 
woof of the clouds a splash of dull yellow showed 
where the sun would be. The fog rose, laying bare 
the desolate ocean. Before us were two very small 
islands, mere handfuls of sand, lying side by side, and 
encompassed half by the open sea, half by stiller 
waters diked in by marshes and sand bars. A coarse, 
scanty grass and a few stunted trees with branches 
bending away from the sea lived upon them, but 
nothing else. Over them and over the marshes and 
the sand banks circled myriads of great white gulls. 
Their harsh, unearthly voices came to us faintly, and 
increased the desolation of earth and sky and sea. 

To the shell-strewn beach of the outer of the two 
islets raced long lines of surf, and between us and it 
lurked a sand bar, against which the great rollers 
dashed with a bull-like roar. The wind drove us 
straight upon this bar. A moment of deadly peril 
and it had us fast, holding us for the waves to beat 
our life out. The boat listed, then rested, quivering 
through all its length. The waves pounded against 
its side, each watery battering-ram dissolving in foam 
and spray but to give place to another, and yet it held 
together, and yet we lived. How long it would hold 
we could not tell ; we only knew it could not be for 
long. The inclination of the boat was not so great 
but that, with caution, we might move about. There 
were on board rope and an axe. With the latter I 
cut away the thwarts and the decking in the bow, and 
Diccon and I made a small raft. When it was fin- 
ished, I lifted my wife in my arms and laid her upon 


]t and lashed her to it with the rope. She smiled like 
a child, then closed her eyes. " I have gathered 
primroses until I am tired," she said. " I will sleep |L^ t> v, 
here a little in the sunshine, and when I awake I will ^^ 
make you a cowslip ball." 

Time passed, and the groaning, trembling timbers 
still held together. The wind fell, the sky became 
blue, and the sun shone. Another while, and the 
waves were less mountainous and beat less furiously 
against the boat. Hope brightened before us. To 
strong swimmers the distance to the islet was trifling ; 
if the boat would but last until the sea subsided, we 
might gain the beach. What we would do upon that 
barren spot, where was neither man nor brute, food 
nor water, was a thing that we had not the time to 
consider. It was land that we craved. 

Another hour, and the sea still fell. Another, and 
a wave struck the boat with force. " The sea is com- 
ing in ! " cried the minister. 

" Ay," I answered. " She will go to pieces now." 

The minister rose to his feet. " I am no mariner," 
he said, " but once in the water I can swim you like 
any fish. There have been times when I have re- 
proached the Lord for that he cased a poor silly hum- 
ble preacher like me with the strength and seeming 
of some mighty man of old, and there have been 
times when I have thanked him for that strength. I 
thank him now. Captain Percy, if you will trust the 
lady to me, I will take her safely to that shore." 

I raised my head from the figure over which I was 
bending, and looked first at the still tumultuous sea, 
and then at the gigantic frame of the minister. When 
we had made that frail raft no swimmer could have 
lived in that shock of waves ; now there was a chance 


for all, and for the minister, with his great strength, 
the greatest I have ever seen in any man, a double 
chance. I took her from the raft and gave her into 
his arms. A minute later the boat went to pieces. 

Side by side Sparrow and I buffeted the sea. He 
held the King's ward in one arm, and he bore her 
safely over the huge swells and through the onslaught 
of the breaking waves. I could thank God for his 
strength, and trust her to it. For the other three of 
us, we were all strong swimmers, and though bruised 
and beat about, we held our own. Each wave, over- 
come, left us nearer the islet, — a little while and our 
feet touched bottom. A short struggle with the tre- 
mendous surf and we were out of the maw of the sea, 
but out upon a desolate islet, a mere hand's-breadth 
of sand and shell in a lonely ocean, some three leagues 
jfrom the mainland of Accomac, and upon it neither 
JM Jr- J food nor water. We had the clothes upon our backs, 
ft f • and my lord and I had kept our swords. I had a 
J\ knife, and Diccon too was probably armed. The flint 

" and steel and tinder box within my pouch made up 

our store. 

The minister laid the woman whom he carried upon 
the pebbles, fell upon his knees, and lifted his rugged 
face to heaven. I too knelt, and with my hand upon 
her heart said my own prayer in my own way. My 
lord stood with unbent head, his eyes upon that still 
white face, but Diccon turned abruptly and strode off 
to a low ridge of sand, from the top of which one 
might survey the entire island. 

In two minutes he was back again. " There 's 
plenty of driftwood further up the beach," he an- 
nounced, " and a mort of dried seaweed. At least we 
need n't freeze." 


The great bonfire that we made roared and crackled, 
sending out a most cheerful heat and light. Under 
that genial breath the color came slowly back to 
madam's cheek and lip, and her heart beat more 
strongly. Presently she turned under my hand, and 
with a sigh pillowed her head upon her arm and went 
to sleep in that blessed warmth like a little child. 

We who had no mind for sleep sat there beside the 
fire and watched the sun sink behind the low black 
line of the mainland, now plainly visible in the cleared 
air. It dyed the waves blood red, and shot out one 
long ray to crimson a single floating cloud, no larger 
than a man's hand, high in the blue. Sea birds, a 
countless multitude, went to and fro with harsh cries 
from island to marsh, and marsh to island. The 
marshes were still green ; they lay, a half moon of 
fantastic shapes, each parted from the other by pink 
water. Beyond them was the inlet dividing us from 
the mainland, and that inlet was three leagues in 
width. We turned and looked seaward. Naught but 
leaping waves white-capped to the horizon. 

" We touched here the time we went against the 
French at Port Royal and St. Croix," I said. " We 
had heard a rumor that the Bermuda pirates had 
hidden gold here. Argall and I went over every 
foot of it." 

" And found no water ? " questioned the minister. 

" And found no water." 

The light died from the west and from the sea 
beneath, and the night fell. When with the darkness 
the sea fowl ceased their clamor, a dreadful silence 
suddenly enfolded us. The rush of the surf made no 
difference ; the ear heard it, but to the mind there 
was no sound. The sky was thick with stars ; every 


moment one shot, and the trail of white fire it left be- 
hind melted into the night silently like snowflakes. 
There was no wind. The moon rose out of the sea, 
and lent the sandy isle her own pallor. Here and 
there, back amongst the dunes, the branches of a low 
and leafless tree writhed upward like dark fingers 
thrust from out the spectral earth. The ocean, quiet 
now, dreamed beneath the moon and cared not for 
the five lives it had cast upon that span of sand. 

We piled driftwood and tangles of seaweed upon 
our fire, and it flamed and roared and broke the 
silence. Diccon, going to the landward side of the 
islet, found some oysters, which we roasted and ate ; 
but we had nor wine nor water with which to wash 
them down. 

" At least there are here no foes to fear," quoth my 
lord. " We may all sleep to-night ; and zooks ! we 
shall need it ! " He spoke frankly, with an open 

" I will take one watch, if you will take the other," 
I said to the minister. 

He nodded. " I will watch until midnight." 

It was long past that time when he roused me from 
where I lay at Mistress Percy's feet. 

" I should have relieved you long ago," I told him. 

He smiled. The moon, now high in the heavens, 
shone upon and softened his rugged features. I 
thought I had never seen a face so filled with tender- 
ness and hope and a sort of patient power. " I have 
been with God," he said simply. " The starry skies 
and the great ocean and the little shells beneath 
my hand, — how wonderful are thy works, O Lord ! 
What is man that thou art mindful of him ? And yet 
not a sparrow falleth " — 


I rose and sat by the fire, and he laid himself down 
upon the sand beside me. 

"Master Sparrow," I asked, "have you ever suf- 
fered thirst ? " 

" No," he answered. We spoke in low tones, lest 
we should wake her. Diccon and my lord, upon the 
other side of the fire, were sleeping heavily. 

" I have," I said. " Once I lay upon a field of 
battle throughout a summer day, sore wounded and 
with my dead horse across my body. I shall forget 
the horror of that lost field and the torment of that 
weight before I forget the thirst." 

" You think there is no hope ? " 

" What hope should there be ? " 

He was silent. Presently he turned and looked at 
the King's ward where she lay in the rosy light ; then 
his eyes came back to mine. 

" If it comes to the worst I shall put her out of her 
torment," I said. 

He bowed his head and we sat in silence, our gaze 
upon the ground between us, listening to the low 
thunder of the surf and the crackling of the fire. "1/ 
love her," I said at last. " God help me ! " / 

He put his finger to his lips. She had stirred and 
opened her eyes. I knelt beside her, and asked her 
how she did and if she wanted aught. 

" It is warm," she said wonderingly. 

" You are no longer in the boat," I told her. " You 
are safe upon the land. You have been sleeping here 
by the fire that we kindled." 

An exquisite smile just lit her face, and her eyelids 
drooped again. " I am so tired," she said drowsily, 
" that I will sleep a little longer. Will you bring me 
some water, Captain Percy ? I am very thirsty." 


After a moment I said gently, " I will go get it, 
madam." She made no answer; she was already 
asleep. Nor did Sparrow and I speak again. He 
laid himself down with his face to the ocean, and I 
sat with my head in my hands, and thought and 
thought, to no purpose. 


When the stars had gone out and the moon begun 
to pale, I raised my face from my hands. Only a few 
glowing embers remained of the fire, and the drift- 
wood that we had collected was exhausted. I thought 
that I would gather more, and build up the fire against 
the time when the others should awake. The drift- 
wood lay in greatest quantity some distance up the 
beach, against a low ridge of sand dunes. Beyond 
these the islet tapered off to a long gray point of sand 
and shell. Walking toward this point in the first pale 
light of dawn, I chanced to raise my eyes, and beheld 
riding at anchor beyond the spit of sand a ship. 

I stopped short and rubbed my eyes. She lay 
there on the sleeping ocean like a dream ship, her 
masts and rigging black against the pallid sky, the 
mist that rested upon the sea enfolding half her hull. 
She might have been of three hundred tons burthen ; 
she was black and two-decked, and very high at poop 
and forecastle, and she was heavily armed. My eyes 
traveled from the ship to the shore, and there dragged 
up on the point, the oars within it, was a boat. 

At the head of the beach, beyond the line of shell 
and weed, the sand lay piled in heaps. With these 
friendly hillocks between me and the sea, I crept on 
as silently as I might, until I reached a point just 
above the boat. Here I first heard voices. I went a 


little further, then knelt, and, parting the long coarse 
grass that filled the hollow between two hillocks, 
looked out upon two men who were digging a grave. 

They dug in a furious hurry, throwing the sand to 
left and right, and cursing as they dug. They were 
powerful men, of a most villainous cast of counte- 
nance, and dressed very oddly. One with a shirt of 
coarsest dowlas, and a filthy rag tying up a broken 
head, yet wore velvet breeches, and wiped the sweat 
from his face with a wrought handkerchief ; the other 
topped a suit of shreds and patches with a fine bushy 
ruff, and swung from one ragged shoulder a cloak of 
grogram lined with taffeta. On the ground, to one 
side of them, lay something long and wrapped in 

As they dug and cursed, the light strengthened. 
The east changed from gray to pale rose, from rose to 
a splendid crimson shot with gold. The mist lifted 
and the sea burned red. Two boats were lowered 
from the ship, and came swiftly toward the point. 

" Here they are at last," growled the gravedigger 
with the broken head and velvet breeches. 

" They 've taken their time," snarled his companion, 
" and us two here on this d — d island with a dead 
man the whole ghost's hour. Boarding a ship 's no- 
thing, but to dig a grave on the land before cockcrow, 
with the man you 're to put in it looking at you ! 
Why could n't he be buried at sea, decent and re- 
spectable, like other folk ? " 

" It was his will, — that 's all I know," said the first ; 
" just as it was his will, when he found he was a dying- 
man, to come booming away from the gold seas up 
here to a land where there isn't no gold, and never 
will be. Belike he thought he 'd find waiting for him 


at the bottom of the sea, all along from the Lucayas 
to Cartagena, the many he sent there afore he died. 
And Captain Paradise, he says, says he : ' It 's ill 
crossing a dead man. We '11 obey him this once 
more ' " — 

" Captain Paradise ! " cried he of the ruff. " Who 
made him captain ? — curse him ! " 

His fellow straightened himself with a jerk. " Who 
made him captain ? The ship will ma,ke him captain. 
Who else should be captain ? " 

" Eed Gil ! " 

" Eed Gil ! " exclaimed the other. " I 'd rather 
have the Spaniard ! " 

" The Spaniard would do well enough, if the rest 
of us were n't English. If hating every other Span- 
iard would do it, he 'd be English fast enough." 

The scoundrel with the broken head burst into a 
loud laugh. " D' ye remember the bark we took off 
Porto Bello, with the priests aboard ? Oho ! Oho ! " 

The rogue with the ruff grinned. "I reckon the 
padres remember it, and find hell easy lying. This 
hole 's deep enough, I 'm thinking/' 

They both clambered out, and one squatted at the 
head of the grave and mopped his face with his deli- 
cate handkerchief, while the other swung his fine 
cloak with an air and dug his bare toes in the sand. 

The two boats now grated upon the beach, and sev- 
eral of their occupants, springing out, dragged them 
up on the sand. 

" We '11 never get another like him that 's gone," 
said the worthy at the head of the grave, gloomily 
regarding the something wrapped in white. 

"That's gospel truth," assented the other, with a 
prodigious sigh. " He was a man what was a man. 


He never stuck at nothing. Don or priest, man or 
woman, good red gold or dirty silver, — it was all 
one to him. But he 's dead and gone ! " 

" Now, if we had a captain like Kir by," suggested 
the first. 

" Kirby keeps to the Summer Isles," said the sec- 
ond. " 'T is n't often now that he swoops down as 
far as the Indies." 

The man with the broken head laughed. " When 
he does, there 's a noise in that part of the world." 

" And that 's gospel truth, too," swore the other, 
with an oath of admiration. 

By this the score or more who had come in the two 
boats were halfway up the beach. In front, side by 
side, as each conceding no inch of leadership, walked 
three men : a large man, with a villainous face much 
scarred, and a huge, bushy, dark red beard ; a tall 
dark man, with a thin fierce face and bloodshot eyes, 
the Spaniard by his looks ; and a slight man, with 
the face and bearing of an English gentleman. The 
men behind them differed no whit from the two grave- 
diggers, being as scoundrelly of face, as great of 
strength, and as curiously attired. They came straight 
to the open grave, and the dead man beside it. The 
three who seemed of mo;;t importance disposed them- 
selves, still side by side, at the head of the grave, and 
their following took the foot. 

" It 's a dirty piece of work," said Red Gil in a 
voice like a raven's, " and the sooner it 's done with, 
and we are aboard again and booming back to the 
Indies, the better I '11 like it. Over with him, brave 
boys ! " 

" Is it yours to give the word ? " asked the slight 
man, who was dressed point-device, and with a finical 


nicety, in black and silver. His voice was low and 
clear, and of a somewhat melancholy cadence, going 
well with the pensiveness of fine, deeply fringed eyes. 

" Why should n't I give the word ? " growled the 
personage addressed, adding with an oath, " I 've as 
good a right to give it as any man, — maybe a better 
right ! " 

"That would be scanned," said he of the pensive 
eyes. " Gentlemen, we have here the pick of the 
ship. For the captain that these choose, those on 
board will throw up their caps. Let us bury the 
dead, and then let choice be made of one of us three, 
each of whom has claims that might be put for- 
ward " — He broke off and picking up a delicate 
shell began to study its pearly spirals with a tender, 
thoughtful, half-pleased, half-melancholy countenance. 

The gravedigger with the wrought handkerchief 
looked from him to the rascal crew massed at the foot 
of the grave, and, seeing his own sentiments mirrored 
in the countenances of not a few, snatched the bloody 
clout from his head, waved it, and cried out, " Para- 
dise ! " Whereupon arose a great confusion. Some 
bawled for Paradise, some for Red Gil, a few for the 
Spaniard. The two gravediggers locked horns, and 
a brawny devil with a woman's mantle swathed about 
his naked shoulders drew a knife, and made for a 
partisan of the Spaniard, who in his turn skillfully 
interposed between himself and the attack the body 
of a bawling well-wisher to Red Gil. 

The man in black and silver tossed aside the shell, 
rose, and entered the lists. With one hand he seized 
the gravedigger of the ruff, and hurled him apart 
from him of the velvet breeches ; with the other he 
presented a dagger with a jeweled haft at the breast 


of the ruffian with the woman's mantle, while in tones 
that would have befitted . Astrophel plaining of his 
love to rocks, woods, and streams, he poured forth 
a flood of wild, singular, and filthy oaths, such as 
would have disgraced a camp follower. His interfer- 
ence was effectual. The combatants fell apart and the 
clamor was stilled, whereupon the gentleman of con- 
trarieties at once resumed the gentle and indifferent 
melancholy of manner and address. 

" Let us off with the old love before we are on with 
the new, gentlemen," he said. " We '11 bury the dead 
first, and choose his successor afterward, — decently 
and in order, I trust, and with due submission to the 

" I '11 fight for my rights," growled Red Gil. 

" And I for mine," cried the Spaniard. 

" And each of us '11 back his own man," muttered 
in an aside the gravedigger with the broken head. 

The one they called Paradise sighed. " It is a 
thousand pities that there is not amongst us some one 
of merit so preeminent that faction should hide its 
head before it. But to the work in hand, gentlemen." 

They gathered closer around the yawning grave, 
and some began to lift the corpse. As for me, I 
withdrew as noiselessly as an Indian from my lair of 
grass, and, hidden by the heaped-up sand, made off 
across the point and down the beach to where a light 
curl of smoke showed that some one was mending the 
fire I had neglected. It was Sparrow, who alternately 
threw on driftwood and seaweed and spoke to madam, 
who sat at his feet in the blended warmth of fire and 
sunshine. Diccon was roasting the remainder of the 
oysters he had gathered the night before, and my lord 
stood and stared with a frowning face at the nine-mile- 


distant mainland. All turned their eyes upon me as 
I came up to the fire. 

"A little longer, Captain Percy, and we would 
have had out a search warrant," began the minister 
cheerfully. " Have you been building a bridge ? " 

" If I build one," I said, " it will be a perilous one 
enough. Have you looked seaward ? " 

" We waked but a minute agone," he answered. 
As he spoke, he straightened his great form and lifted 
his face from the fire to the blue sea. Diccon, still 
on his knees at his task, looked too ; and my lord, 
turning from his contemplation of the distant king- 
dom of Accomac ; and Mistress Percy, one hand shad- 
ing her eyes, the slender fingers of the other still 
immeshed in her long dark hair which she had been 
braiding. They stared at the ship in silence until 
my lord laughed. 

" Conjure us on board at once, captain," he cried. 
" We are thirsty." 

I drew the minister aside. "I am going up the 
beach, beyond that point, again ; you will one and 
all stay here. If I do not come back, do the best you 
can, and sell her life as dearly as you can. If I come 
back, — you are quick of wit and have been a player ; 
look that you take the cue I give you ! " 

I returned to the fire, and he followed me, amaze- 
ment in his face. " My Lord Carnal," I said, " I 
must ask you for your sword." 

He started, and his black brows drew together. 
" Though the fortunes of war have made me in some 
sort your captive, sir," he said at last, and not with- 
out dignity, " I do not see, upon this isle to which 
we are all prisoners, the need of so strong testimony 
to the abjectness of my condition, nor deem it gener- 
ous " — 


" We will speak of generosity another day, my 
lord," I interrupted. " At present I am in a hurry. 
That you are my prisoner in verity is enough for me, 
but not for others. I must have you so in seeming 
as well as in truth. Moreover, Master Sparrow is 
weaponless, and I must needs disarm an enemy to 
arm a friend. I beg that you will give what else we 
must take." 

He looked at Diccon, but Diccon stood with his 
face to the sea. I thought we were to have a struggle, 
and I was sorry for it, but my lord could and did 
add discretion to a valor that I never doubted. He 
shrugged his shoulders, burst into a laugh, and turned 
to Mistress Percy. 

" What can one do, lady, when one is doubly a 
prisoner, prisoner to numbers and to beauty? E'en 
laugh at fate, and make the best of a bad job. Here, 
sir ! Some day it shall be the point ! " 

He drew his rapier from its sheath, and presented 
the hilt to me. I took it with a bow, and handed it 
to Sparrow. 

The King's ward had risen, and now leant against 
the bank of sand, her long dark hair, half braided, 
drawn over either shoulder, her face marble white be- 
tween the waves of darkness. 

" I do not know that I shall ever come back," I 
said, stopping before her. " May I kiss your hand 
before I go ? " 

Her lips moved, but she did not speak. I knelt 
and kissed her clasped hands. They were cold to my 
lips. "Where are you going?" she whispered. "Into 
what danger are you going ? I — I — take me with 


I rose, with a laugh at my own folly that could 


have rested brow and lips on those hands, and let the 
world wag. "Another time," I said. "Rest in the 
sunshine now, and think that all is well. All will be 
well, I trust." 

A few minutes later saw me almost upon the party 
gathered about the grave. The grave had received 
that which it was to hold until the crack of doom, 
and was now being rapidly filled with sand. The 
crew of deep-dyed villains worked or stood or sat in 
silence, but all looked at the grave, and saw me not. 
As the last handful of sand made it level with the 
beach, I walked into their midst, and found myself 
face to face with the three candidates for the now 
vacant captaincy. 

" Give you good-day, gentlemen," I cried. " Is it 
your captain that you bury or one of your crew, or is 
it only pezos and pieces of eight?" 



" The sun shining on so much bare steel hurts my 
eyes," I said. " Put up, gentlemen, put up ! Cannot 
one rover attend the funeral of another without all 
this crowding and display of cutlery? If you will 
take the trouble to look around you, you will see that 
I have brought to the obsequies only myself." 

One by one cutlass and sword were lowered, and 
those who had drawn them, falling somewhat back, 
spat and swore and laughed. The man in black and 
silver only smiled gently and sadly. " Did you drop 
from the blue ? " he asked. " Or did you come up 
from the sea ? " 

" I came out of it," I said. " My ship went down 
in the storm yesterday. Your little cockboat yonder 
was more fortunate." I waved my hand toward that 
ship of three hundred tons, then twirled my mustaches 
and stood at gaze. 

" Was your ship so large, then ? " demanded Par- 
adise, while a murmur of admiration, larded with 
oaths, ran around the circle. 

" She was a very great galleon," I replied, with a 
sigh for the good ship that was gone. 

A moment's silence, during which they all looked 
at me. " A galleon," then said Paradise softly. 

" They that sailed her yesterday are to-day at the 
bottom of the sea," I continued. " Alackaday ! so 


are one hundred thousand pezos of gold, three thou- 
sand bars of silver, ten frails of pearls, jewels un- 
counted, cloth of gold and cloth of silver. She was a 
very rich prize." 

The circle sucked in their breath. " All at the bot- 
tom of the sea?" queried Red Gil, with gloating eyes 
fixed upon the smiling water. " Not one pezo left, 
not one little, little pearl ? " 

I shook my head and heaved a prodigious sigh. 
" The treasure is gone," I said, " and the men with 
whom I took it are gone. I am a captain with neither 
ship nor crew. I take you, my friends, for a ship 
and crew without a captain. The inference is ob- 

The ring gaped with wonder, then strange oaths 
arose. Red Gil broke into a bellow of angry laughter, 
while the Spaniard glared like a catamount about to 
spring. " So you would be our captain ?" said Para- 
dise, picking up another shell, and poising it upon a 
hand as fine and small as a woman's. 

" Faith, you might go farther and fare worse," I 
answered, and began to hum a tune. When I had 
finished it, " I am Kirby," I said, and waited to see 
if that shot should go wide or through the hull. 

For two minutes the dash of the surf and the cries 
of the wheeling sea fowl made the only sound in that 
part of the world ; then from those half-clad rapscal- 
lions arose a shout of " Kirby ! " — a shout in which 
the three leaders did not join. That one who looked 
a gentleman rose from the sand and made me a low 
bow. " Well met, noble captain," he cried in those 
his honey tones. " You will doubtless remember me 
who was with you that time at Maracaibo when you 
sunk the galleasses. Five years have passed since 


then, and yet I see you ten years younger and three 
inches taller." 

" I touched once at the Lucayas, and found the 
spring de Leon sought," I said. " Sure the waters 
have a marvelous effect, and if they give not eternal 
youth at least renew that which we have lost." 

" Truly a potent aqua vitse," he remarked, still 
with thoughtful melancholy. " I see that it hath 
changed your eyes from black to gray." 

" It hath that peculiar virtue," I said, " that it can 
make black seem white." 

The man with the woman's mantle drawn about 
him now thrust himself from the rear to the front 
rank. " That 's not Kirby ! " he bawled. " He 's no 
more Kirby than I am Kirby ! Did n't I sail with 
Kirby from the Summer Isles to Cartagena and back 
again ? He 's a cheat, and I am agoing to cut his 
heart out ! " He was making at me with a long 
knife, when I whipped out my rapier. 

" Am I not Kirby, you dog ? " I cried, and ran him 
through the shoulder. 

He dropped, and his fellows surged forward with a 
yell. " Yet a little patience, my masters ! " said Para- 
dise in a raised voice and with genuine amusement in 
his eyes. " It is true that that Kirby with whom I 
and our friend there on the ground sailed was some- 
what short and as swart as a raven, besides having a 
cut across his face that had taken away a part of his 
lip and the top of his ear, and that this gentleman 
who announces himself as Kirby hath none of Kirby's 
marks. But we are fair and generous and open to 
conviction " — 

" He '11 have to convince my cutlass ! " roared Red 


I turned upon him. " If I do convince it, what 
then ? " I demanded. " If I convince your sword, 
you of Spain, and yours, Sir Black and Silver ? " 

The Spaniard stared. " I was the best sword in 
Lima," he said stiffly. " I and my Toledo will not 
change our minds." 

" Let him try to convince Paradise ; he 's got no 
reputation as a swordsman ! " cried out the grave- 
digger with the broken head. 

A roar of laughter followed this suggestion, and 
I gathered from it and from the oaths and allusions 
to this or that time and place that Paradise was not 
without reputation. 

I turned to him. " If I fight you three, one by one, 
and win, am I Kirby ? " 

He regarded the shell with which he was toying 
with a thoughtful smile, held it up that the light 
might strike through its rose and pearl, then crushed 
it to dust between his fingers. 

" Ay," he said with an oath. " If you win against 
the cutlass of Red Gil, the best blade of Lima, and 
the sword of Paradise, you may call yourself the devil 
an you please, and we will all subscribe to it." 

I lifted my hand. " I am to have fair play ? " 

As one man that crew of desperate villains swore 
that the odds should be only three to one. By this 
the whole matter had presented itself to them as an 
entertainment more diverting than bullfight or bear- 
baiting. They that follow the sea, whether honest 
men or black-hearted knaves, have in their composi- 
tion a certain childlikeness that makes them easily 
turned, easily led, and easily pleased. The wind of 
their passion shifts quickly from point to point, one 
moment blowing a hurricane, the next sinking to a 


happy-go-lucky summer breeze. I have seen a little 
thing convert a crew on the point of mutiny into a 
set of rollicking, good-natured souls who — until the 
wind veered again — would not hurt a fly. So with 
these. They spread themselves into a circle, squatting 
or kneeling or standing upon the white sand in the 
bright sunshine, their sinewy hands that should have 
been ingrained red clasped over their knees, or, arms 
akimbo, resting upon their hips, on their scoundrel 
faces a broad smile, and in their eyes that had looked 
on nameless horrors a pleasurable expectation as of 
spectators in a playhouse awaiting the entrance of the 

" There is really no good reason why we should 
gratify your whim," said Paradise, still amused. 
" But it will serve to pass the time. We will fight 
you, one by one." 

" And if I win ? " 

He laughed. " Then, on the honor of a gentleman, 
you are Kirby and our captain. If you lose, we will 
leave you where you stand for the gulls to bury." 

" A bargain," I said, and drew my sword. 

" I first ! " roared Red Gil. " God's wounds ! there 
will need no second ! " 

As he spoke he swung his cutlass and made an arc 
of blue flame. The weapon became in his hands a 
flail, terrible to look upon, making lightnings and 
whistling in the air, but in reality not so deadly as 
it seemed. The fury of his onslaught would have 
beaten down the guard of any mere swordsman, but 
that I was not. A man, knowing his weakness and 
insufficiency in many and many a thing, may yet know 
his strength in one or two and his modesty take no 
hurt. I was ever master of my sword, and it did the 




thing I would have it do. Moreover, as I fought I . 

saw her as I had last seen her, standing against the "fir** 
bank of sand, her dark hair, half braided, drawn over 
her bosom and hanging to her knees. Her eyes 
haunted me, and my lips yet felt the touch of her hand. 
I fought well, — how well the lapsing of oaths and 
laughter into breathless silence bore witness. 

The ruffian against whom I was pitted began to 
draw his breath in gasps. He was a scoundrel not fit 
to die, less fit to live, unworthy of a gentleman's steel. 
I presently ran him through with as little compunc- 
tion and as great a desire to be quit of a dirty job as 
if he had been a mad dog. He fell, and a little later, 
while I was engaged with the Spaniard, his soul went 
to that hell which had long gaped for it. To those 
his companions his death was as slight a thing as would 
theirs have been to him. In the eyes of the two re- 
maining would-be leaders he was a stumbling-block 
removed, and to the squatting, open-mouthed common- 
alty his taking off weighed not a feather against the 
solid entertainment I was affording them. I was now 
a better man than Red Gil, — that was all. 

The Spaniard was a more formidable antagonist. 
The best blade of Lima was by no means to be de- 
spised ; but Lima is a small place, and its blades can 
be numbered. The sword that for three years had 
been counted the best in all the Low Countries was 
its better. But I fought fasting and for the second 
time that morning, so maybe the odds were not so 
great. I wounded him slightly, and presently suc- 
ceeded in disarming him. " Am I Kirby ? " I de- 
manded, with my point at his breast. 

" Kirby, of course, senor," he answered with a sour 
smile, his eyes upon the gleaming blade. 


I lowered my point and we bowed to each other, 
after which he sat down upon the sand and applied 
himself to stanching the bleeding from his wound. 
The pirate ring gave him no attention, but stared at 
me instead. I was now a better man than the Span- 

The man in black and silver rose and removed his 
doublet, folding it very carefully, inside out, that the 
sand might not injure the velvet, then drew his rapier, 
looked at it lovingly, made it bend until point and 
hilt well-nigh met, and faced me with a bow. 

" You have fought twice, and must be weary," he 
said. " Will you not take breath before we engage, 
or will your long rest afterward suffice you ? " 

" I will rest aboard my ship," I made reply. " And 
as I am in a hurry to be gone we won't delay." 

Our blades had no sooner crossed than I knew that 
in this last encounter I should need every whit of my 
skill, all my wit, audacity, and strength. I had met 
my equal, and he came to it fresh and I jaded. I 
clenched my teeth and prayed with all my heart ; I set 
her face before me, and thought if I should fail her to 
what ghastly fate she might come, and I fought as I 
had never fought before. The sound of the surf be- 
came a roar in my ears, the sunshine an intolerable 
blaze of light ; the blue above and around seemed sud- 
denly beneath my feet as well. We were fighting 
high in the air, and had fought thus for ages. I knew 
that he made no thrust I did not parry, no feint I 
could not interpret. I knew that my eye was more 
quick to see, my brain to conceive, and my hand to 
execute than ever before ; but it was as though I held 
that knowledge of some other, and I myself was far 
away, at Weyanoke, in the minister's garden* in the 


haunted wood, anywhere save on that barren islet. I 
heard him swear under his breath, and in the face 1 
had set before me the eyes brightened. As if she had 
loved me I fought for her with all my powers of body 
and mind. He swore again, and my heart laughed 
within me. The sea now roared less loudly, and I 
felt the good earth beneath my feet. Slowly but 
surely I wore him out. His breath came short, the 
sweat stood upon his forehead, and still I deferred 
my attack. He made the thrust of a boy of fifteen, 
and I smiled as I put it by. 

"Why don't you end it? "he breathed. "Finish 
and be d — d to you ! " 

For answer I sent his sword flying over the nearest 
hillock of sand. "Ami Kirby ? " I said. He fell 
back against the heaped-up sand and leaned there, 
panting, with his hand to his side. " Kirby or devil," 
he replied. " Have it your own way." 

I turned to the now highly excited rabble. " Shove 
the boats off, half a dozen of you ! " I ordered. " Some 
of you others take up that carrion there and throw it 
into the sea. The gold upon it is for your pains. You 
there with the wounded shoulder you have no great 
hurt. I '11 salve it with ten pieces of eight from the 
captain's own share, the next prize we take." 

A shout of acclamation arose that scared the sea 
fowl. They who so short a time before had been 
ready to tear me limb from limb now with the great- 
est apparent delight hailed me as captain. How soon 
they might revert to their former mood was a question 
that I found not worth while to propound to myself. 

By this the man in black and silver had recovered 
his breath and his equanimity. " Have you no com- 
mission with which to honor me, noble captain ? " he 


asked In gently reproachful tones. " Have you for- 
got how often you were wont to employ me in those 
sweet days when your eyes were black ? " 

" By no means, Master Paradise," I said courteously. 
" I desire your company and that of the gentleman 
from Lima. You will go with me to bring up the 
rest of my party. The three gentlemen of the broken 
head, the bushy ruff, which I protest is vastly becom- 
ing, and the wounded shoulder will escort us." 

" The rest of your party ? " said Paradise softly. 

" Ay," I answered nonchalantly. " They are down 
the beach and around the point warming themselves 
by a fire which this piled-up sand hides from you. 
Despite the sunshine it is a biting air. Let us be 
going ! This island wearies me, and I am anxious to 
be on board ship and away." 

" So small an escort scarce befits so great a cap- 
tain," he said. " We will all attend you." One and 
all started forward. 

I called to mind and gave utterance to all the oaths 
I had heard in the wars. " I entertain you for my 
subordinate whom I command, and not who commands 
me ! " I cried, when my memory failed me. " As for 
you, you dogs, who would question your captain and 
his doings, stay where you are, if you would not be 
lessoned in earnest ! " 

Sheer audacity is at times the surest steed a man 
can bestride. Now at least it did me good service. 
With oaths and grunts of admiration the pirates stayed 
where they were, and went about their business of 
launching the boats and stripping the body of Ked 
Gil, while the man in black and silver, the Spaniard, 
the two gravediggers, the knave with the wounded 
shoulder, and myself walked briskly up the beach. 


With these five at my heels I strode up to the dy- 
ing fire and to those who had sprung to their feet at 
our approach. " Sparrow," I said easily, " luck being 
with us as usual, I have fallen in with a party of 
rovers. I have told them who I am, — that Kirby, 
to wit, whom an injurious world calls the blackest 
pirate unhanged, — and have recounted to them how 
the great galleon which I took some months ago went 
down yesterday with all on board, you and I with these 
others being the sole survivors. By dint of a little 
persuasion they have elected me their captain, and we 
will go on board directly and set sail for the Indies, a 
hunting ground which we never should have left. You 
need not look so blank ; you shall be my mate and 
right hand still." I turned to the five who formed 
my escort. " This, gentlemen, is my mate, Jeremy 
Sparrow by name, who hath a taste for divinity that 
in no wise interferes with his taste for a galleon or 
a guarda costa. This man, Diccon Demon by name, 
was of my crew. The gentleman without a sword is 
my prisoner, taken by me from the last ship I sunk. 
How he, an Englishman, came to be upon a Spanish 
bark I have not found leisure to inquire. The lady is 
my prisoner, also." 

" Sure by rights she should be gaoler and hold all 
men's hearts in ward," said Paradise, with a low bow 
to my unfortunate captive. 

While he spoke a most remarkable transformation 
was going on. The minister's grave, rugged, and 
deeply lined face smoothed itself and shed ten years at 
least ; in the eyes that I had seen wet with noble tears 
a laughing devil now lurked, while his strong mouth 
became a loose-lipped, devil-may-care one. His head 
with its aureole of bushy, grizzled hair set itself jaunt- 


ily upon one side, and from it and from his face and 
his whole great frame breathed a wicked jollity quite 

" Odsbodikins, captain ! " he cried. " Kirby's luck ! 
— 't will pass into a saw ! Adzooks ! and so you 're 
captain once more, and I 'm mate once more, and we 've 
a ship once more, and we 're off once more 

To sail the Spanish Main, 
And give the Spaniard pain, 

Heave ho, bully boy, heave ho ! 

By 'r lakin ! I 'm too dry to sing. It will take all 
the wine of Xeres in the next galleon to unparch my 
tongue ! " 


Day after day the wind filled our sails and sang in 
the rigging, and day after day we sailed through blue 
seas toward the magic of the south. Day after day a 
listless and voluptuous world seemed too idle for any 
dream of wrong, and day after day we whom a strange 
turn of Fortune's wheel had placed upon a pirate ship 
held our lives in our hands, and walked so close with 
Death that at length that very intimacy did breed con- 
tempt. It was not a time to think ; it was a time to 
act, to laugh and make others laugh, to bluster and 
brag, to estrange sword and scabbard, to play one's 
hand with a fine unconcern, but all the time to watch, 
watch, watch, day in and day out, every minute of 
every hour. That ship became a stage, and we, the 
actors, should have been applauded to the echo. How 
well we played let witness the fact that the ship came 
to the Indies, with me for captain and the minister 
for mate, and with the woman that was on board un- 
harmed ; nay, reverenced like a queen. The great 
cabin was hers, and the poop deck ; we made for her 
a fantastic state with doffing of hats and bowings and 
backward steps. "We were her guard, — the gentle- 
men of the Queen, — I and my Lord Carnal, the min- 
ister and Diccon, and we kept between her and the 
rest of the ship. 

We did our best, and our best was very much. 


When I think of the songs the minister sang ; of the 
roars of laughter that went up from the lounging pi- 
rates when, sitting astride one of the main-deck guns, 
he made his voice call to them, now from the hold, 
now from the stern gallery, now from the masthead, 
now from the gilt sea maid upon the prow, I laugh 
too. Sometimes a space was cleared for him, and he 
played to them as to the pit at Blackfriars. They 
laughed and wept and swore with delight, — all save 
the Spaniard, who was ever like a thundercloud, and 
Paradise, who only smiled like some languid, side-box 
lord. There was wine on board, and during the longj 
idle days, when the wind droned in the rigging like a 
bagpipe, and there was never a cloud in the sky, and 
the galleons were still far away, the pirates gambled 
and drank. Diccon diced with them, and taught them 
all the oaths of a free company. So much wine, and 
no more, should they have ; when they frowned, I let 
them see that their frowning and their half-drawn 
knives mattered no doit to me. It was their whim — 
a huge jest of which they could never have enough 
— still to make believe that they sailed under Kirby. 
Lest it should spoil the jest, and while the jest out- 
ranked all other entertainment, they obeyed as though 
I had been indeed that fierce sea wolf. 

Time passed, though it passed like a tortoise, and 
we came to the Lucayas, to the outposts of the vast 
hunting ground of Spaniard and pirate and buccaneer, 
the fringe of that zone of beauty and villainy and fear, 
and sailed slowly past the islands, looking for our prey. 

The sea was blue as blue could be. Only in the 
morning and the evening it glowed blood red, or 
spread upon its still bosom all the gold of all the Indies, 
or became an endless mead of palest green shot with 


amethyst. W]ien night fell, it mirrored the stars, 
great and small, or was caught in a net of gold flung 
across it from horizon to horizon. The ship rent the 
net with a wake of white fire. The air was balm ; 
the islands were enchanted places, abandoned by Span- 
iard and Indian, overgrown, serpent-haunted. The 
reef, the still water, pink or gold, the gleaming beach, 
the green plume of the palm, the scarlet birds, the 
cataracts of bloom, — the senses swooned with the 
color, the steaming incense, the warmth, the wonder 
of that fantastic world. Sometimes, in the crystal 
waters near the land, we sailed over the gardens of 
the sea gods, and, looking down, saw red and purple 
blooms and shadowy waving forests, with rainbow 
fish for humming birds. Once we saw below us a 
sunken ship. With how much gold she had endowed 
the wealthy sea, how many long drowned would rise 
from her rotted decks when the waves gave up their 
dead, no man could tell. Away from the ship darted 
many-hued fish, gold-disked, or barred and spotted 
with crimson, or silver and purple. The dolphin and 
the tunny and the flying fish swam with us. Some- 
times flights of small birds came to us from the land. 
Sometimes the sea was thickly set with full-blown pale 
red bloom, the jellyfish that was a flower to the sight 
and a nettle to the touch. If a storm arose, a fury 
that raged and threatened, it presently swept away, 
and the blue laughed again. When the sun sank, 
there arose in the east such a moon as might have been 
sole light to all the realms of faery. A beauty lan- 
guorous and seductive was most absolute empress of 
the wonderful land and the wonderful sea. 

We were in the hunting grounds, and men went 
not there to gather flowers. Day after day we watched 


for Spanish sails ; for the plate fleets went that way, 
and some galleass or caravel or galleon might stray 
aside. At last, in the clear green bay of a nameless 
island at which we stopped for water, we found two 
carracks come upon the same errand, took them, and 
with them some slight treasure in rich cloths and gems. 
A week later, in a strait between two islands like 
tinted clouds, we fought a very great galleon from 
sunrise to noon, pierced her hull through and through 
and silenced her ordnance, then boarded her and found 
a king's ransom in gold and silver. When the fight- 
ing had ceased and the treasure was ours, then we 
four stood side by side on the deck of the slowly sink- 
ing galleon, in front of our prisoners, — of the men 
who had fought well, of the ashen priests and the 
trembling women. Those whom we faced were in 
high good humor : they had gold with which to gam- 
ble, and wine to drink, and rich clothing with which 
to prank their villainous bodies, and prisoners with 
whom to make merry. When I ordered the Span- 
iards to lower their boats, and taking with them their 
priests and women row off to one of those two islands, 
the weather changed. 

We outlived that storm, but how I scarcely know. 
As Kirby would have done, so did I ; rating my crew 
like hounds, turning my point this way and that, dar- 
ing them to come taste the red death upon it, braving 
it out like some devil who knows he is invulnerable. 
My lord, swinging the cutlass with which he was 
armed, stood beside me, knee to knee, and Diccon 
cursed after me, making quarter staff play with his 
long pike. But it was the minister that won us through. 
At length they laughed, and Paradise, standing for- 
ward, swore that such a captain and such a mr.te were 


worth the lives of a thousand Spaniards. To pleasure 
Kirby, they would depart this once from their ancient 
usage and let the prisoners go, though it was passing 
strange, — it being Kirby's wont to clap prisoners 
under hatches and fire their ship above them. At the 
end of which speech the Spaniard began to rave, and 
sprang at me like a catamount. Paradise put forth a 
foot and tripped him up, whereat the pirates laughed 
again, and held him back when he would have come 
at me a second time. 

From the deck of the shattered galleon I watched 
her boats, with their heavy freight of cowering human- 
ity, pull off toward the island. Back upon my own 
poop, the grappling irons cast loose, and a swiftly 
widening ribbon of blue between us and the sinking 
ship, I looked at the pirates thronging the waist below 
me, and knew that the play was nearly over. How 
many days, weeks, hours, before the lights would go 
out, I could not tell : they might burn until we took 
or lost another ship ; the next hour might see that 
brief tragedy consummated. 

I turned, and going below met Sparrow at the foot 
of the poop ladder. 

" I have sworn at these pirates until my hair stood 
on end," he said ruefully. " God forgive me ! And 
I have bent into circles three half pikes in demonstra- 
tion of the thing that would occur to them if they 
tempted me overmuch. And I have sung them all 
the bloody and lascivious songs that ever I knew in 
my unregenerate days. I have played the bravo and 
buffoon until they gaped for wonder. I have damned 
myself to all eternity, I fear, but there '11 be no 
mutiny this fair day. It may arrive by to-morrow, 


" Likely enough," I said. " Come within. I have 
eaten nothing since yesterday." 

" I '11 speak to Diccon first," he answered, and went 
on toward the forecastle, while I entered the state 
cabin. Here I found Mistress Percy kneeling beside 
the bench beneath the stern windows, her face buried 
in her outstretched arms, her dark hair shadowing 
her like a mantle. When I spoke to her she did not 
answer. With a sudden fear I stooped and touched 
her clasped hands. A shudder ran through her frame, 
and she slowly raised a colorless face. 

" Are you come back ? " she whispered. " I thought 
you would never come back. I thought they had 
killed you. I was only praying before I killed my- 
self." * 

I took her hands and wrung them apart to rouse 
her, she was so white and cold, and spoke so strangely. 
" God forbid that I should die yet awhile, madam ! " 
I said. " When I can no longer serve you, then I 
shall not care how soon I die." 

The eyes with which she gazed upon me were still 
wide and unseeing. " The guns ! " she cried, wresting 
her hands from mine and putting them to her ears. 
" Oh, the guns ! they shake the air. And the screams 
and the trampling — the guns again ! " 

I brought her wine and made her drink it ; then 
sat beside her, and told her gently, over and over 
again, that there was no longer thunder of the guns 
or screams or trampling. At last the long, tearless 
sobs ceased, and she rose from her knees, and let me 
lead her to the door of her cabin. There she thanked 
me softly, with downcast eyes and lips that yet trem- 
bled ; then vanished from my sights leaving me first 
to wonder at that terror and emotion in her who sel- 


dom showed the thing she felt, and finally to conclude 
that it was not so wonderful after all. 

We sailed on, — southwards to Cuba, then north 
again to the Lucayas and the Florida straits, looking 
for Spanish ships and their gold. The lights yet 
burned, — now brightly, now so sunken that it seemed 
as though the next hour they must flicker out. We, 
the players, flagged not in that desperate masque ; but 
we knew that, in spite of all endeavor, the darkness 
was coming fast upon us. 

Had it been possible, we would have escaped from 
the ship, hazarding new fortunes on the Spanish Main, 
in an open boat, sans food or water. But the pirates 
watched us very closely. They called me " captain " 
and " Kirby," and for the jest's sake gave an exag- 
gerated obedience, with laughter and flourishes ; but 
none the less I was their prisoner, — I and those I 
had brought with me to that ship. 

An islet, shaped like the crescent moon, rose from 
out the sea before us. We needed water, and so we 
felt our way between the horns of the crescent into 
the blue crystal of a fairy harbor. One low hill, rose- 
colored from base to summit, with scarce a hint of 
the green world below that canopy of giant bloom, a 
little silver beach with wonderful shells upon it, the 
sound of a waterfall and a lazy surf, — we smelt the 
fruits and the flowers, and a longing for the land 
came upon us. Six men were left on the ship, and all 
besides went ashore. Some rolled the water casks 
toward the sound of the cascade ; others plunged into 
the forest, to return laden with strange and luscious 
fruits, birds, guanas, conies, — whatever eatable thing 
they could lay hands upon ; others scattered along 
the beach to find turtle eggs, cr, if fortune favored 


them, the turtle itself. They laughed, they sang-, 
they swore, until the isle rang to their merriment. 
Like wanton children, they called to each other, to 
the screaming birds, to the echoing bloom-draped hill. 

I spread a square of cloth upon the sand, in the 
shadow of a mighty tree that stood at the edge of the 
forest, and the King's ward took her seat upon it, 
and looked, in the golden light of the sinking sun, the 
very spirit of the isle. By this we two were alone on 
the beach. The hunters for eggs, led by Diccon, were 
out upon the farthest gleaming horn ; from the wood 
came the loud laughter of the fruit gatherers, and a 
most rollicking song issuing from the mighty chest of 
Master Jeremy Sparrow. With the woodsmen had 
gone my lord. 

I walked a little way into the forest, and shouted a 
warning to Sparrow against venturing too far. When 
I returned to the giant tree and the cloth in the shadow 
of its outer branches, my wife was writing on the sand 
with a pointed shell. She had not seen or heard me, 
and I stood behind her and read what she wrote. It 
was my name. She wrote it three times, slowly and 
carefully ; then she felt my presence, glanced swiftly 
up, smiled, rubbed out my name, and wrote Sparrow's, 
Diccon's, and the King's in succession. " Lest I 
should forget to make my letters," she explained. 

I sat down at her feet, and for some time we said 
no word. The light, falling between the heavy blooms, 
cast bright sequins upon her dress and dark hair. 
The blooms were not more pink than her cheeks, the 
recesses of the forest behind us not deeper or darker 
than her eyes. The laughter and the song came 
faintly to us now. The sun was low in the west, and 
a wonderful light slept upon the sea. 


" Last year we had a masque at court," she said at 
length, breaking the long silence. " We had Calypso's 
island, and I was Calypso. The island was built o£ 
boards covered with green velvet, and there was a 
mound upon it of pink silk roses. There was a deep 
blue painted sea below, and a deep blue painted sky 
above. My nymphs danced around the mound of 
roses, while I sat upon a real rock beside the painted 
sea and talked with Ulysses — to wit, my Lord of 
Buckingham — in gold armor. That was a strange, 
bright, unreal, and wearisome day, but not so strange 
and unreal as this." 

She ceased to speak, and began again to write upon 
the sand. I watched her white hand moving to and 
fro. She wrote, "How long will it last ? " 

" I do not know. Not long." 

She wrote again : " If there is time at the last, when 
you see that it is best, will you kill me ? " 

I took the shell from her hand, and wrote my 
answer beneath her question. 

The forest behind us sank into that pause and 
breathless hush between the noises of the day and the 
noises of the night. The sun dropped lower, and the 
water became as pink as the blooms above us. 

" An you could, would you change ? " I asked. 
" Would you return to England and safety ? " 

She took a handful of the sand and let it slowly 
drift through her white fingers. " You know that I 
would not," she said ; " not if the end were to come 
to-night. Only — only " — She turned from me and 
looked far out to sea. I could not see her face, only 
the dusk of her hair and her heaving bosom. " My 
blood may be upon your hands," she said in a whisper, 
" but yours will be upon my soul." 


She turned yet further away, and covered her eyes 
with her hand. I arose, and bent over her until I 
could have touched with my lips that bowed head. 
o" K " Jocelyn," I said. 

W A branch of yellow fruit fell beside us, and my 

v"* 1 * V Lord Carnal, a mass of gaudy bloom in his hand, 

*C p"^ stepped from the wood. " I returned to lay our first- 

4 e fruits at madam's feet," he explained, his darkly 

watchful eyes upon us both. "A gift from one 

poor prisoner to another, madam." He dropped the 

flowers in her lap. " Will you wear them, lady ? 

They are as fair almost as I could wish." 

She touched the blossoms with listless fingers, said 
they were fair ; then, rising, let them drop upon the 
sand. " I wear no flowers save of my husband's gath- 
ering, my lord," she said. 

There was a pathos and weariness in her voice, and 
a mist of unshed tears in her eyes. She hated him ; 
she loved me not, yet was forced to turn to me for 
help at every point, and she had stood for weeks upon 
the brink of death and looked unfalteringly into the 
gulf beneath her. 

" My lord," I said, "you know in what direction 
Master Sparrow led the men. Will you reenter the 
wood and call them to return ? The sun is fast sink- 
ing, and darkness will be upon us." 

He looked from her to me, with his brows drawn 
downwards and his lips pressed together. Stooping, 
he took up the fallen flowers and deliberately tore 
them to pieces, until the pink petals were all scattered 
upon the sand. 

" I am weary of requests that are but sugared com- 
mands," he said thickly. " Go seek your own men, 
an you will. Here we are but man to man, and I 


budge not. I stay, as the King would have me stay, 
beside the unfortunate lady whom you have made the 
prisoner and the plaything of a pirate ship." 

" You wear no sword, my Lord Carnal," I said at 
last, " and so may lie with impunity." 

" But you can get me one ! " he cried, with ill-con- 
cealed eagerness. 

I laughed. " I am not zealous in mine enemy's 
cause, my lord. I shall not deprive Master Sparrow 
of your lordship's sword." 

Before I knew what he was about he crossed the 
yard of sand between us and struck me in the face. 
" Will that quicken your zeal ? " he demanded be- 
tween his teeth. 

I seized him by the arm, and we stood so, both 
white with passion, both breathing heavily. At 
length I flung his arm from me and stepped back. 
" I fight not my prisoner," I said, " nor, while the 
lady you have named abides upon that ship with the 
nobleman who, more than myself, is answerable for 
her being there, do I put my life in unnecessary haz- 
ard. I will endure the smart as best I may, my lord, 
until a more convenient season, when I will salve it 

I turned to Mistress Percy, and giving her my 
hand led her down to the boats ; for I heard the fruit 
gatherers breaking through the wood, and the hunters 
for eggs, black figures against the crimson sky, were 
hurrying down the beach. Before the night had quite 
fallen we were out of the fairy harbor, and when the 
moon rose the islet looked only a silver sail against 
the jeweled heavens. 



The luck that had been ours could not hold ; when 
the tide turned, it ebbed fast. 

The weather changed. One hurricane followed 
upon the stride of another, with only a blue day or 
two between. Ofttimes we thought the ship was lost. 
All hands toiled like galley slaves ; and as the hea- 
vens darkened, there darkened also the mood of the 

In sight of the great island of Cuba we gave chase 
to a bark. The sun was shining and the sea fairly 
still when first she fled before us ; we gained upon 
her, and there was not a mile between us when a cloud 
blotted out the sun. The next minute our own sails 
gave us occupation enough. The storm, not we, was 
victor over the bark ; she sank with a shriek from 
her decks that rang above the roaring wind. Two 
days later we fought a large caravel. With a fortu- 
nate shot she brought down our foremast, and sailed 
away from us with small damage of her own. All 
that day and night the wind blew, driving us out of 
our course, and by dawn we were as a shuttlecock 
between it and the sea. We weathered the gale, but 
when the wind sank there fell on board that black 
ship a menacing silence. 

In the state cabin I held a council of war. Mis- 
tress Percy sat beside me, her arm upon the table. 


her hand shadowing her eyes ; my lord, opposite, 
never took his gaze from her, though he listened 
gloomily to Sparrow's rueful assertion that the brazen 
game we had been playing was well-nigh over. Die- 
con, standing behind him, bit his nails and stared at 
the floor. 

" For myself I care not overmuch," ended the min- 
ister. " I scorn not life, but think it at its worst well 
worth the living ; yet when my God calls me, I will 
go as to a gala day and triumph. You are a soldier, 
Captain Percy, you and Diccon here, and know how 
to die. You too, my Lord Carnal, are a brave man, 
though a most wicked one. For us four, we can 
drink the cup, bitter though it be, with little trem- 
bling. But there is one among us " — His great 
voice broke, and he sat staring at the table. 

The King's ward uncovered her eyes. " If I be 
not a man and a soldier, Master Sparrow," she said 
simply, " yet I am the daughter of many valiant gen- 
tlemen. I will die as they died before me. And for 
me, as for you four, it will be only death, — naught 
else." She looked at me with a proud smile. 

" Naught else," I said. 

My lord started from his seat and strode over to 
the window, where he stood drumming his fingers 
against the casing. I turned toward him. " My 
Lord Carnal," I said, " you were overheard last night 
when you plotted with the Spaniard." 

He recoiled with a gasp, and his hand went to his 
side, where it found no sword. I saw his eyes busy 
here and there through the cabin, seeking something 
which he might convert into a weapon. 

" I am yet captain of this ship," I continued. " Why 
I do not, even though it be my last act of authority, 
have you flung to the sharks, I scarcely know." 


He threw back his head, all his bravado re- 
turned to him. " It is not I that stand in danger," 
he began loftily ; " and I would have you remember, 
sir, that you are my enemy, and that I owe you no 

" I am content to be your enemy," I answered. 

"You do not dare to set upon me now," he went 
on, with his old insolent, boastful smile. " Let me 
cry out, make a certain signal, and they without will 
be here in a twinkling, breaking in the door " — 

" The signal set ? " I said. " The mine laid, the 
match burning ? Then 't is time that we were gone. 
When I bid the world good-night, my lord, my wife 
goes with me." 

His lips moved and his black eyes narrowed, but he 
did not speak. 

" An my cheek did not burn so," I said, " I would 
be content to let you live ; live, captain in verity of 
this ship of devils, until, tired of you, the devils cut 
your throat, or until some victorious Spaniard hung 
you at his yardarm ; live even to crawl back to Eng- 
land, by hook or crook, to wait, hat in hand, in the 
antechamber of his Grace of Buckingham. As it is, 
I will kill you here and now. I restore you your 
sword, my lord, and there lies my challenge." 

I flung my glove at his feet, and Sparrow unbuckled 
the keen blade which he had worn since the day I had 
asked it of its owner, and pushed it to me across the 
table. The King's ward leaned back in her chair, very 
white, but with a proud, still face, and hands loosely 
folded in her lap. My lord stood irresolute, his lip 
caught between his teeth, his eyes upon the door. 

" Cry out, my lord," I said. " You are in dan- 
ger. Cry to your friends without, who may come in 


time. Cry out loudly, like a soldier and a gentle- 
man ! " 

With a furious oath he stooped and caught up the 
glove at his feet ; then snatched out of my hand the 
sword that I offered him. 

" Push back the settle, you ; it is in the way ! " he 
cried to Diccon ; then to me, in a voice thick with 
passion : " Come on, sir ! Here there are no med- 
dling governors ; this time let Death throw down the 
warder ! " 

" He throws it," said the minister beneath his 

From without came a trampling and a sudden burst 
of excited voices. The next instant the door was 
burst open, and a most villainous, fiery-red face thrust 
itself inside. "A ship ! " bawled the apparition, and 
vanished. The clamor increased ; voices cried for cap- 
tain and mate, and more pirates appeared at the door, 
swearing out the good news, come in search of Kirby, 
and giving no choice but to go with them at once. 

" Until this interruption is over, sir," I said sternly, 
bowing to him as I spoke. " No longer." 

" Be sure, sir, that to my impatience the time will 
go heavily," he answered as sternly. 

We reached the poop to find the fog that had lain 
about us thick and white suddenly lifted, and the hot 
sunshine streaming down upon a rough blue sea. To 
the larboard, a league away, lay a low, endless coast of 
sand, as dazzling white as the surf that broke upon it, 
and running back to a matted growth of vivid green. 

"That is Florida," said Paradise at my elbow, "and 
there are reefs and shoals enough between us. It 
was Kirby's luck that the fog lifted. Yonder tall ship 
hath a less fortunate star." 


She lay between us and the white beach, evidently 
in shoal and dangerous waters. She too had encoun- 
tered a hurricane, and had not come forth victorious. 
Foremast and forecastle were gone, and her bowsprit 
was broken. She lay heavily, her ports but a few 
inches above the water. Though we did not know it 
then, most of her ordnance had been flung overboard 
to lighten her. Crippled as she was, with what sail 
she could set, she was beating back to open sea from 
that dangerous offing. 

" Where she went we can follow ! " sang out a voice 
from the throng in our waist. " A d — d easy prize ! 
And we '11 give no quarter this time ! " There was 
a grimness in the applause of his fellows that boded 
little good to some on either ship. 

" Lord help all poor souls this day ! " ejaculated 
the minister in undertones; then aloud and more 
hopefully, " She hath not the look of a don ; maybe 
she 's buccaneer." 

" She is an English merchantman," said Paradise. 
" Look at her colors. A Company ship, probably, 
bound for Virginia, with a cargo of servants, gentle- 
men out at elbows, felons, children for apprentices, 
traders, French vignerons, glasswork Italians, return- 
ing Councilors and heads of hundreds, with their 
wives and daughters, men servants and maid servants. 
[ made the Virginia voyage once myself, captain." 

I did not answer. I too saw the two crosses, and I 
did not doubt that the arms upon the flag beneath 
were those of the Company. The vessel, which was 
of about two hundred tons, had mightily the look of 
the George, a ship with which we at Jamestown were 
all familiar. Sparrow spoke for me. 

" An English ship ! " he cried out of the simplicity 


of his heart. " Then she 's safe enough for us ! Per- 
haps we might speak her and show her that we are 
English, too ! Perhaps" — He looked at me eagerly. 

" Perhaps you might be let to go off to her in one 
of the boats," finished Paradise dryly. " I think not, 
Master Sparrow." 

" It 's other guess messengers that they '11 send," 
muttered Diccon. " They 're uncovering the guns, 

Every man of those villains, save one, was of Eng- 
lish birth ; every man knew that the disabled ship was 
an English merchantman filled with peaceful folk, but 
the knowledge changed their plans no whit. There 
was a great hubbub ; cries and oaths and brutal laugh- 
ter, the noise of the gunners with their guns, the clang 
of cutlass and pike as they were dealt out, but not a 
voice raised against the murder that was to be done. 
I looked from the doomed ship, upon which there was 
now frantic haste and confusion, to the excited throng 
below me, and knew that I had as well cry for mercy 
to winter wolves. , 

The helmsman behind me had not waited for orders, 
and we were bearing down upon the disabled bark. 
Ahead of us, upon our larboard bow, was a patch of 
lighter green, and beyond it a slight hurry and foam 
of the waters. Half a dozen voices cried warning to 
the helmsman. It was he of the woman's mantle, 
whom I had run through the shoulder on the island 
off Cape Charles, and he had been Kirby's pilot from 
Maracaibo to Fort Caroline. Now he answered with 
a burst of vaunting oaths : " We 're in deep water, 
and there 's deep water beyond. I 've passed this way 
before, and I '11 carry ye safe past that reef were 't 
hell's gate ! " 


The desperadoes who heard him swore applause, 
and thought no more of the reef that lay in wait. 
Long since they had gone through the gates of hell 
for the sake of the prize beyond. Knowing the appeal 
to be hopeless, I yet made it. 

" She is English, men ! " I shouted. " We will 
fight the Spaniards while they have a flag in the 
Indies, but our own people we will not touch ! " 

The clamor of shouts and oaths suddenly fell, and 
the wind in the rigging, the water at the keel, the 
surf on the shore, made themselves heard. In the 
silence, the terror of the fated ship became audible. 
Confused voices came to us, and the scream of a 

On the faces of a very few of the pirates there was 
a look of momentary doubt and wavering ; it passed, 
and the most had never worn it. They began to press 
forward toward the poop, cursing and threatening, 
working themselves up into a rage that would not 
care for my sword, the minister's cutlass, or Diccon's 
pike. One who called himself a wit cried out some- 
thing about Kirby and his methods, and two or three 

" I find that the role of Kirby wearies me," I said. 
" I am an English gentleman, and I will not fire upon 
an English ship." 

As if in answer there came from our forecastle a 
flame and thunder of guns. The gunners there, intent 
upon their business, and now within range of the mer- 
chantman, had fired the three forecastle culverins. 
The shot cut her rigging and brought down the flag. 
The pirates' shout of triumph was echoed by a cry 
from her decks and the defiant roar of her few re- 
maining guns. 


I drew my sword. The minister and Diccon moved 
nearer to me, and the King's ward, still and white 
and braver than a man, stood beside me. From the 
pirates that we faced came one deep breath, like the 
first sigh of the wind before the blast strikes. Sud- 
denly the Spaniard pushed himself to the front ; with 
his gaunt figure and sable dress he had the seeming 
of a raven come to croak over the dead. He rested 
his gloomy eyes upon my lord. The latter, very white, 
returned the look; then, with his head held high, 
crossed the deck with a measured step and took his 
place among us. He was followed a moment later by 
Paradise. " I never thought to die in my bed, cap- 
tain," said the latter nonchalantly. " Sooner or later, 
what does it matter ? And you must know that be- 
fore I was a pirate I was a gentleman." Turning, he 
doffed his hat with a flourish to those he had quitted. 
" Hell litter ! " he cried. " I have run with you long 
enough. Now I have a mind to die an honest man." 

At this defection a dead hush of amazement fell 
upon that crew. One and all they stared at the man 
in black and silver, moistening their lips, but saying 
no word. We were five armed and desperate men ; 
they were fourscore. We might send many to death 
before us, but at the last we ourselves must die, — we 
and those aboard the helpless ship. 

In the moment's respite I bowed my head and 
whispered to the King's ward. 

" I had rather it were your sword," she answered 
in a low voice, in which there was neither dread nor 
sorrow. " You must not let it grieve you ; it will be 
added to your good deeds. And it is I that should 
ask your forgiveness, not you mine." 

Though there was scant time for such dalliance, I 


bent my knee and rested my forehead upon her hand. 
As I rose, the minister's hand touched my shoulder 
and the minister's voice spoke in my ear. " There is 
another way," he said. " There is God's death, and 
not man's. Look and see what I mean." 

I followed the pointing of his eyes, and saw how 
close we were to those white and tumbling waters, the 
danger signal, the rattle of the hidden snake. The 
eyes of the pirate at the helm, too, were upon them ; 
his brows were drawn downward, his lips pressed 
together, the whole man bent upon the ship's safe 
passage. . . . The low thunder of the surf, the cry 
of a wheeling sea bird, the gleaming lonely shore, 
the cloudless sky, the ocean, and the white sand far, 
far below, where one might sleep well, sleep well, 
with other valiant dead, long drowned, long changed. 
" Of their bones are coral made." 

The storm broke with fury and outcries, and a blue 
radiance of drawn steel. A pistol ball sang past my 

" Don't shoot ! " roared the gravedigger to the man 
who had fired the shot. " Don't cut them down ! 
Take them and thrust them under hatches until we 've 
time to give them a slow death ! And hands off the 
woman until we 've time to draw lots ! " 

He and the Spaniard led the rush. I turned my 
head and nodded to Sparrow, then faced them again. 
" Then may the Lord have mercy upon your souls ! " 
I said. 

As I spoke the minister sprang upon the helmsman, 
and, striking him to the deck with one blow of his 
huge fist, himself seized the wheel. Before the pirates 
could draw breath he had jammed the helm to star- 
board, and the reef lay right across our bows. 


A dreadful cry went up from that black ship to a 
deaf Heaven, — a cry that was echoed by a wild shout 
of triumph from the merchantman. The mass front- 
ing us broke in terror and rage and confusion. Some 
ran frantically up and down with shrieks and curses ; 
others sprang overboard. A few made a dash for the 
poop and for us who stood to meet them. They were 
led by the Spaniard and the gravedigger. The former 
I met and sent tumbling back into the waist ; the lat- 
ter whirled past me, and rushing upon Paradise thrust 
him through with a pike, then dashed on to the wheel, 
to be met and hewn down by Diccon. 

The ship struck. I put my arm around my wife, 
and my hand before her eyes ; and while I looked only 
at her, in that storm of terrible cries, of flapping can- 
vas, rushing water, and crashing timbers, the Spaniard 
clambered like a catamount upon the poop, thai was 
now high above the broken forepart of the ship, and 
fired his pistol at me point-blank. 



I and Black Lamoral were leading a forlorn hope. 
With all my old company behind us, we were thun- 
dering upon an enemy as thick as ants, covering the 
face of the earth. Down came Black Lamoral, and 
the hoofs of every mad charger went over me. For a 
time I was dead ; then I lived again, and was walking 
with the forester's daughter in the green chase at 
home. The oaks stretched broad sheltering arms 
above the young fern and the little wild flowers, and 
the deer turned and looked at us. In the open spaces, 
starring the lush grass, were all the yellow primroses 
that ever bloomed. I gathered them for her, but when 
I would have given them to her she was no longer the 
forester's daughter, but a proud lady, heiress to lands 
and gold, the ward of the King. She would not take 
the primroses from a poor gentleman, but shook her 
head and laughed sweetly, and faded into a waterfall 
that leaped from a pink hill into a waveless sea. An' 
other darkness, and I was captive to the Chickahomi- 
nies, tied to the stake. My arm and shoulder were 
on fire, and Opechancanough came and looked at me, 
with his dark, still face and his burning eyes. The 
fierce pain died, and I with it, and I lay in a grave 
and listened to the loud and deep murmur of the for- 
est above. I lay there for ages on ages before I awoke 
to the fact that the darkness about me was the dark- 


ness of a ship's hold, and the murmur of the forest 
the wash of the water alongside. I put out an arm 
and touched, not the side of a grave, but a ship's tim- 
bers. I stretched forth the other arm, then dropped 
it with a groan. Some one bent over me and held 
water to my lips. I drank, and my senses came fully 
to me. " Diccon ! " I said. 

" It 's not Diccon," replied the figure, setting down 
a pitcher. " It is Jeremy Sparrow. Thank God, 
you are yourself again ! " 

" Where are we?" I asked, when I had lain and 
listened to the water a little longer. 

" In the hold of the George," he answered. " The 
ship sank by the bows, and well-nigh all were drowned. 
But when they upon the George saw that there was a 
woman amongst us who clung to the poop deck, they 
sent their longboat to take us off." 

The light was too dim for me to read his face, so I 
touched his arm. 

" She was saved," he said. " She is safe now. 
There are gentlewomen aboard, and she is in their 

I put my unhurt arm across my eyes. 

"You are weak yet," said the minister gently. 
"The Spaniard's ball, you know, went through your 
shoulder, and in some way your arm was badly torn 
from shoulder to wrist. You have been out of your 
head ever since we were brought here, three days ago. 
The chirurgeon came and dressed your wound, and it 
is healing well. Don't try to speak, — I '11 tell you 
all. Diccon has been pressed into service, as the ship 
is short of hands, having lost some by fever and some 
overboard. Four of the pirates were picked up, and 
hung at the yardarm next morning." 


He moved as he spoke, and something clanked in 
the stillness. " You are ironed ! " I exclaimed. 

" Only my ankles. My lord would have had me 
bound hand and foot ; but you were raving for water, 
and, taking you for a dying man, they were so humane 
as to leave my hands free to attend you." 

" My lord would have had you bound," I said slowly. 
" Then it 's my lord's day." 

" High noon and blazing sunshine," he answered, 
with a rueful laugh. " It seems that half the folk on 
board had gaped at him at court. Lord ! when he 
put his foot over the side of the ship, how the women 
screeched and the men stared ! He 's cock of the 
walk now, my Lord Carnal, the King's favorite ! " 

" And we are pirates." 

" That 's the case in a nutshell," he answered cheer- 

" Do they know how the ship came to strike upon 
that reef ? " I asked. 

" Probably not, unless madam has enlightened them. 
I did n't take the trouble, — they would n't have be- 
lieved me, — and I can take my oath my lord has n't. 
He was only our helpless prisoner, you know ; and 
they would think madam mistaken or bewitched." 

" It 's not a likely tale," I said grimly, " seeing that 
we had already opened fire upon them." 

" I trust in heaven the sharks got the men who fired 
the culverins ! " he cried, and then laughed at his own 

I lay still and tried to think. " Who are they on 
board ? " I asked at last. 

" I don't know," he replied. " I was only on deck 
until my lord had had his say in the poop cabin with 
the master and a gentleman who appeared most in 


authority. Then the pirates were strung up, and we 
were bundled down here in quick order. But there 
seems to be more of quality than usual aboard." 

" You do not know where we are ? " 

" We lay at anchor for a day, — whilst they patched 
her up, I suppose, — and since then there has been 
rough weather. We must be still off Florida, and 
that is all I know. Now go to sleep. You '11 get 
your strength best so, and there 's nothing to be gotten 
by waking." 

He began to croon a many-versed psalm. I slept 
and waked, and slept again, and was waked by the 
light of a torch against my eyes. The torch was held 
by a much-betarred seaman, and by its light a gentle- 
man of a very meagre aspect, with a weazen face and 
small black eyes, was busily examining my wounded 
shoulder and arm. 

" It passeth belief," he said in a sing-song voice, 
" how often wounds, with naught in the world done 
for them outside of fair water and a clean rag, do turn 
to and heal out of sheer perversity. Now, if I had 
been allowed to treat this one properly with scalding 
oil and melted lead, and to have bled the patient as 
he should have been bled, it is ten to one that by this 
time there would have been a pirate the less in the 
world." He rose to his feet with a highly injured 

" Then he 's doing well ? " asked Sparrow. 

" So well that he could n't do better," replied the 
other. " The arm was a trifling matter, though no 
doubt exquisitely painful. The wound in the shoulder 
is miraculously healing, without either blood-letting or 
cauteries. You '11 have to hang after all, my friend." 
He looked at me with his little beady eyes. " It must 


have been a grand life," he said regretfully. " I never 
expected to see a pirate chief in the flesh. When I 
was a boy, I used to dream of the black ships and 
the gold and the fighting. By the serpent of Escu- 
lapius, in my heart of hearts I would rather be such a 
world's thief, uncaught, than Governor of Virginia ! " 
He gathered up the tools of his trade, and motioned 
to his torchbearer to go before. " I '11 have to report 
you rapidly recovering," he said warningly, as he 
turned to follow the light. 

" Very well," I made answer. " To whom am I 
indebted for so much kindness ? " 

" I am Dr. John Pott, newly appointed physician 
general to the colony of Virginia. It is little of my 
skill I could give you, but that little I gladly bestow 
upon a real pirate. What a life it must have been ! 
And to have to part with it when you are yet young ! 
And the good red gold and the rich gems all at the 
bottom of the sea ! " 

He sighed heavily and went his way. The hatches 
were closed after him, and the minister and I were 
left in darkness while the slow hours dragged them- 
selves past us. Through the chinks of the hatches a 
very faint light streamed down, and made the dark- 
ness gray instead of black. The minister and I saw 
each other dimly, as spectres. Some one brought us 
mouldy biscuit that I wanted not, and water for which 
I thirsted. Sparrow put the small pitcher to his lips, 
kept it there a moment, then held it to mine. I drank, 
and with that generous draught tasted pure bliss. It 
was not until five minutes later that I raised myself 
upon my elbow and turned on him. 

" The pitcher felt full to my lips ! " I exclaimed, 
" Did you drink when you said you did ? " 


He put out his great hand and pushed me gently 
down. " I have no wound," he said, " and there was 
not enough for two." 

The light that trembled through the cracks above 
died away, and the darkness became gross. The air 
in the hold was stifling ; our souls panted for the wind 
and the stars outside. At the worst, when the fetid 
blackness lay upon our chests like a nightmare, the 
hatch was suddenly lifted, a rush of pure air came to 
us, and with it the sound of men's voices speaking on 
the deck above. Said one, " True the doctor pro- 
nounces him out of all danger, yet he is a wounded 

" He is a desperate and dangerous man," broke in 
another harshly. " I know not how you will answer 
to your Company for leaving him unironed so long." 

" I and the Company understand each other, my 
lord," rejoined the first speaker, with some haughti- 
ness. " I can keep my prisoner without advice. If I 
now order irons to be put upon him and his accom- 
plice, it is because I see fit to do so, and not because 
of your suggestion, my lord. You wish to take this 
opportunity to have speech with him, — to that I 
can have no objection." 

The speaker moved away. As his footsteps died 
in the distance my lord laughed, and his merriment 
was echoed by three or four harsh voices. Some one 
struck flint against steel, and there was a sudden flare 
of torches and the steadier light of a lantern. A 
man with a brutal, weather-beaten face — the master 
of the ship, we guessed — came down the ladder, lan- 
tern in hand, turned when he had reached the foot, 
aud held up the lantern to light my lord down. I lay 
and watched the King's favorite as he descended. 


The torches held slantingly above cast a fiery light 
over his stately figure and the face which had raised 
him from the low estate of a doubtful birth and a 
most lean purse to a pinnacle too near the sun for 
men to gaze at with undazzled eyes. In his rich dress 
and the splendor of his beauty, with the red glow 
enveloping him, he lit the darkness like a baleful 

The two torchbearers and a third man descended, 
closing the hatch after them. When all were down, 
my lord, the master at his heels, came and stood over 
me. I raised myself, though with difficulty, for the 
fever had left me weak as a babe, and met his gaze. 
His was a cruel look ; if I had expected, as assuredly 
I did not expect, mercy or generosity from this my 
dearest foe, his look would have struck such a hope 
dead. Presently he beckoned to the men behind him. 
" Put the manacles upon him first," he said, with a 
jerk of his thumb toward Sparrow. 

The man who had come down last, and who carried 
irons enough to fetter six pirates, started forward to 
do my lord's bidding. The master glanced at Spar- 
row's great frame, and pulled out a pistol. The min- 
ister laughed. " You '11 not need it, friend. I know 
when the odds are too great." He held out his arms, 
and the men fettered them wrist to wrist. When they 
had finished he said calmly : " * I have seen the wicked 
in great power, and spreading himself like a green 
bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not : 
yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.' " 

My lord turned from him, and pointed to me. He 
kept his eyes upon my face while they shackled me 
hand and foot ; then said abruptly, " You have cords 
there : bind his arms to his sides." The men wound 


the cords around me many times. " Draw them tight," 
commanded my lord. 

There came a wrathful clank of the minister's 
chains. " The arm is torn and inflamed from shoulder 
to wrist, as I make no doubt you have been told ! " he 
cried. " For very shame, man ! " 

"Draw them tighter," said my lord, between his "5£T. 

The men knotted the cords, and rose to their feet, 
to be dismissed by my lord with a curt " You may go." 
They drew back to the foot of the ladder, while the 
master of the ship went and perched himself upon one 
of the rungs. " The air is fresher here beneath the 
hatch," he remarked. 

As for me, though I lay at my enemy's feet, I could 
yet set my teeth and look him in the eyes. The cup 
was bitter, but I could drink it with an unmoved face. 

"Art paid?" he demanded. "Art paid for the 
tree in the red forest without the haunted wood ? Art 
paid, thou bridegroom ? " 

" No," I answered. " Bring her here to laugh at 
me as she laughed in the twilight beneath the guest- 
house window." 

I thought he would murder me with the poniard he 
drew, but presently he put it up. 

" She is come to her senses," he said. " Up in the 
state cabin are bright lights, and wine and laughter. 
There are gentlewomen aboard, and I have been sing- 
ing to the lute, to them — and to her. She is saved 
from the peril into which you plunged her ; she knows 
that the King's Court of High Commission, to say 
nothing of the hangman, will soon snap the fetters 
which she now shudders to think of ; that the King 
and one besides will r ndone her past short madness. 


Her cheeks are roses, her eyes are stars. But now, 
when I pressed her hand between the verses of my 
song, she smiled and sighed and blushed. She is 
again the dutiful ward of the King, the Lady Jocelyn 
Leigh — she hath asked to be so called " — 

" You lie," I said. " She is my true and noble 
wife. She may sit in the state cabin, in the air and 
warmth and light, she may even laugh with her lips, 
but her heart is here with me in the hold." 

As I spoke, I knew, and knew not how I knew, 
that the thing which I had said was true. With that 
knowledge came a happiness so deep and strong that 
it swept aside like straw the torment of those cords, 
and the deeper hurt that I lay at his feet. I sup- 
pose my face altered, and mirrored that blessed glow 
about my heart, for into his own came a white fury, 
changing its beauty into something inhuman and ter- 
rifjnng. He looked a devil baffled. For a minute he 
stood there rigid, with hands clenched. " Embrace 
her heart, if thou canst," he said, in a voice so low that 
it came like a whisper from the realm he might have 
left. " I shall press my face against her bosom." 

Another minute of a silence that I disdained to 
break ; then he turned and went up the ladder. The 
seamen and the master followed. The hatch was 
clapped to and fastened, and we were left to the dark- 
ness and the heavy air, and to a grim endurance of 
what could not be cured. 

During those hours of thirst and torment I came 
indeed to know the man who sat beside me. His hands 
were so fastened that he could not loosen the cords, 
and there was no water for him to give me ; but he 
could and did bestow a higher alms, — the tenderness 
of a brother, the manly sympati T of a soldier, the balm 


of the priest of God. I lay in silence, and he spoke 
not often ; but when he did so, there was that in the 
tone of his voice — Another cycle of pain, and I 
awoke from a half swoon, in which there was water 
to drink and no anguish, to hear him praying beside 
me. He ceased to speak, and in the darkness I heard 
him draw his breath hard and his great muscles crack. 
Suddenly there came a sharp sound of breaking iron, 
and a low " Thank Thee, Lord ! " Another moment, 
and I felt his hands busy at the knotted cords. " I 
will have them off thee in a twinkling, Ralph," he 
said, " thanks to Him who taught my hands to war, 
and my arms to break in two a bow of steel." As he 
spoke, the cords loosened beneath his fingers. 

I raised my head and laid it on his knee, and he put 
his great arm, with the broken chain dangling from 
it, around me, and, like a mother with a babe, crooned 
me to sleep with the twenty-third psalm. 



My lord came not again into the hold, and the 
untied cords and the broken chain were not replaced. 
Morning and evening we were brought a niggard al- 
lowance of bread and water ; but the man who carried 
it bore no light, and may not even have observed 
their absence. We saw no one in authority. Hour 
by hour my wounds healed and my strength returned. 
If it was a dark and noisome prison, if there were 
hunger and thirst and inaction to be endured, if we 
knew not how near to us might be a death of igno- 
miny, yet the minister and I found the jewel in the 
head of the toad ; for in that time of pain and heavi- 
ness we became as David and Jonathan. 

At last some one came beside the brr.te who brought 
us food. A quiet gentleman, with whitening hair and 
bright dark eyes, stood before us. He had ordered 
the two men with him to leave open the hatch, and 
he held in his hand a sponge soaked with vinegar. 
" Which of you is — -or rather was — Captain Ralph 
Percy ? " he asked, in a grave but pleasant voice. 

" I am Captain Percy," I answered. 

He looked at me with attention. " I have heard of 
you before," he said. " I read the letter you wrote 
to Sir Edwyn Sandys, and thought it an excellently 
conceived and manly epistle. What magic trans- 
formed a gentleman and a soldier into a pirate ? " 


As he waited for me to speak, I gave him for 
answer, " Necessity." 

" A sad metamorphosis," he said. " I had rather 
read of nymphs changed into laurel and gushing 
springs. I am come to take you, sir, before the offi- 
3ers of the Company aboard this ship, when, if you 
have aught to say for yourself, you may say it. I 
need not tell you, who saw so clearly some time ago 
the danger in which you then stood, that your plight 
is now a thousandfold worse." 

" I am perfectly aware of it," I said. " Am I to 
go in fetters ? " 

" No," he replied, with a smile. " I have no in- 
structions on the subject, but I will take it upon 
myself to free you from them, — even for the sake 
of that excellently writ letter." 

" Is not this gentleman to go too ? " I asked. 

He shook his head. " I have no orders to that 

While the men who were with him removed the 
irons from my wrists and ankles he stood in silence, 
regarding me with a scrutiny so close that it would 
have been offensive had I been in a position to take 
offense. When they had finished I turned and held 
Jeremy's hand in mine for an instant, then followed 
the new-comer to the ladder and out of the hold ; the 
two men coming after us, and resolving themselves 
above into a guard. As we traversed the main deck 
we came upon Diccon, busy with two or three others 
about the ports. He saw me, and, dropping the bar 
that he held, started forward, to be plucked back by 
an angry arm. The men who guarded me pushed in 
between us, and there was no word spoken by either. 
I walked on, the gentleman at my side, and presently 


came to aii open port, and saw, with an intake of my 
breath, the sunshine, a dark blue heaven flecked with 
white, and a quiet ocean. My companion glanced at 
me keenly. 

" Doubtless it seems fair enough, after that Cim- 
merian darkness below," he remarked. " Would you 
like to rest here a moment? " 

" Yes," I said, and, leaning against the side of the 
port, looked out at the beauty of the light. 

" We are off Hatteras," he informed me, " but we 
have not met with the stormy seas that vex poor mari- 
ners hereabouts. Those sails you see on our quarter 
belong to our consort. We were separated by the 
hurricane that nigh sunk us, and finally drove us, 
helpless as we were, toward the Florida coast and 
across your path. For us that was a fortunate reef 
upon which you dashed. The gods must have made 
your helmsman blind, for he ran you into a destruction 
that gaped not for you. Why did every wretch that 
we hung next morning curse you before he died ? " 

" If I told you, you would not believe me," I 

I was dizzy with the bliss of the air and the light, 
and it seemed a small thing that he would not believe 
me. The wind sounded in my ears like a harp, and 
the sea beckoned. A white bird flashed down into 
the crystal hollow between two waves, hung there a 
second, then rose, a silver radiance against the blue. 
Suddenly I saw a river, dark and ridged beneath thun- 
derclouds, a boat, and in it, her head pillowed upon 
her arm, a woman, who pretended that she slept. 
With a shock my senses steadied, and I became my- 
self again. The sea was but the sea, the wind the 
wind ; in the hold below me lay my friend ; some- 


where in that ship was my wife ; and awaiting me in 
the state cabin were men who perhaps had the will, as 
they had the right and the might, to hang me at the 
yardarm that same hour. 

" I have had my fill of rest," I said. " Whom am 
I to stand before ? " 

"The newly appointed officers of the Company, 
bound in this ship for Virginia," he answered. " The 
ship carries Sir Francis Wyatt, the new Governor; 
Master Davison, the Secretary ; young Clayborne, the 
surveyor general; the knight marshal, the physician 
general, and the Treasurer, with other gentlemen, 
and with fair ladies, their wives and sisters. I am 
George Sandys, the Treasurer." 

The blood rushed to my face, for it hurt me that 
the brother of Sir Edwyn Sandys should believe 
that the firing of those guns had been my act. His 
was the trained observation of the traveler and writer, 
and he probably read the color aright. " I pity you, 
if I can no longer esteem you," he said, after a pause. 
" I know no sorrier sight than a brave man's shield 

I bit my lip and kept back the angry word. The 
next minute saw us at the door of the state cabin. It 
opened, and my companion entered, and I after him, 
with my two guards at my back. Around a large 
table were gathered a number of gentlemen, some 
seated, some standing. There were but two among 
them whom L had seen before, — the physician who 
had dressed my wound and my Lord Carnal. The 
latter was seated in a great chair, beside a gentleman 
with a pleasant active face and light brown curling 
hair, — the new Governor, as I guessed. The Trea- 
surer, nodding to the two men to fall back to the win- 


dow, glided to a seat upon my lord's other hand, and 
I went and stood before the Governor of Virginia. 

For some moments there was silence in the cabin, 
every man being engaged in staring at me with all his 
eyes ; then the Governor spoke : "It should be upon 
your knees, sir." 

" I am neither petitioner nor penitent," I said. " I 
know no reason why I should kneel, your Honor." 

" There 's reason, God wot, why you should be 
both ! " he exclaimed. " Did you not, now some 
months agone, defy the writ of the King and Com- 
pany, refusing to stand when called upon to do so in 
the King's name ? " 

" Yes." 

" Did you not, when he would have stayed your 
lawless flight, lay violent hands upon a nobleman 
high in the King's favor, and, overpowering him with 
numbers, carry him out of the King's realm ? " 

" Yes." 

" Did you not seduce from her duty to the King, 
and force to fly with you, his Majesty's ward, the 
Lady Jocelyn Leigh ? " 

" No," I said. " There was with me only my wife, 
who chose to follow the fortunes of her husband." 

He frowned, and my lord swore beneath his breath. 
" Did you not, falling in with a pirate ship, cast in 
your lot with the scoundrels upon it, and yourself 
turn pirate ? " 

" In some sort." 

" And become their chief ? " 

" Since there was no other situation open, — yes." 

" Taking with you as captives upon the pirate ship 
that lady and that nobleman ? " 

" Yes." 


"You proceeded to ravage the dominions of the 
King of Spain, with whom his Majesty is at peace " — 

" Like Drake and Raleigh, — yes," I said. 

He smiled, then frowned. " Tempora mutantur," 
he said dryly. " And I have never heard that Drake 
or Raleigh attacked an English ship." 

" Nor have I attacked one," I said. 

He leaned back in his chair and stared at me. 
" We saw the flame and heard the thunder of your 
guns, and our rigging was cut by the shot. Did you 
expect me to believe that last assertion ? " 

" No." 

" Then you might have spared yourself — and us 

— that lie," he said coldly. 

The Treasurer moved restlessly in his seat, and 
began to whisper to his neighbor the Secretary. A 
young man, with the eyes of a hawk and an iron jaw, 

— Clayborne, the surveyor general, — who sat at the 
end of the table beside the window, turned and gazed 
out upon the clouds and the sea, as if, contempt 
having taken the place of curiosity, he had no further 
interest in the proceedings. As for me, I set my 
face like a flint, and looked past the man who might 
have saved me that last speech of the Governor's as 
if he had never been. 

There was a closed door in the cabin, opposite the 
one by which I had entered. Suddenly from behind 
it came the sound of a short struggle, followed by the 
quick turn of a key in the lock. The door was flung 
open, and two women entered the cabin. One, a fair 
young gentlewoman, with tears in her brown eyes, 
came forward hurriedly with outspread hands. 

" I did what I could, Frank ! " she cried. " When 
she would not listen to reason, I e'en locked the door ; 


but she is strong, for all that she has been ill, and she 
forced the key out of my hand ! " She looked at the 
red mark upon the white hand, and two tears fell from 
her long lashes upon her wild-rose cheeks. 

With a smile the Governor put out an arm and 
drew her down upon a stool beside him, then rose and 
bowed low to the King's ward. " You are not yet 
well enough to leave your cabin, as our worthy physi- 
cian general will assure you, lady," he said courteously, 
but firmly. " Permit me to lead you back to it." 

Still smiling he made as if to advance, when she 
stayed him with a gesture of her raised hand, at once 
so majestic and so pleading that it was as though a 
strain of music had passed through the stillness of 
the cabin. 

" Sir Francis Wyatt, as you are a gentleman, let 
me speak," she said. It was the voice of that first 
night at Weyanoke, all pathos, all sweetness, all en- 

The Governor stopped short, the smile still upon 
his lips, his hand still outstretched, — stood thus for 
a moment, then sat down. Around the half circle of 
gentlemen went a little rustling sound, like wind in 
dead leaves. My lord half rose from his seat. " She 
is bewitched," he said, with dry lips. " She will say 
what she has been told to say. Lest she speak to her 
shame, we should refuse to hear her." 

She had been standing in the centre of the floor, 
her hands clasped, her body bowed toward the Gov- 
ernor, but at my lord's words she straightened like a 
bow unbent. " I may speak, your Honor ? " she asked 

The Governor, who had looked askance at the 
working face of the man beside him, slightly bent his 


head and leaned back in his great armchair. The 
King's favorite started to his feet. The King's ward 
turned her eyes upon him. " Sit down, my lord," 
she said. " Surely these gentlemen will think that 
you are afraid of what I, a poor erring woman, rebel- 
lious to the King, traitress to mine own honor, late 
the plaything of a pirate ship, may say or do. Truth, 
my lord, should be more courageous." Her voice 
was gentle, even plaintive, but it had in it the quality 
that lurks in the eyes of the crouching panther. 

My lord sat down, one hand hiding his working 
mouth, the other clenched on the arm of his chair as 
if it had been an arm of flesh. 



She came slowly nearer the ring of now very quiet 
and attentive faces until she stood beside me, but she 
neither looked at me nor spoke to me. She was thin- 
ner and there were heavy shadows beneath her eyes, 
but she was beautiful. 

" I stand before gentlemen to whom, perhaps, I am 
not utterly unknown," she said. " Some here, per- 
chance, have been to court, and have seen me there. 
Master Sandys, once, before the Queen died, you 
came to Greenwich to kiss her Majesty's hands ; and 
while you waited in her antechamber you saw a young 
maid of honor — scarce more than a child — curled in 
a window seat with a book. You sat beside her, and 
told her wonderful tales of sunny lands and gods and 
nymphs. I was that maid of honor. Master Clay- 
borne, once, hawking near Windsor, I dropped my 
glove. There were a many out of their saddles before 
it touched the ground, but a gentleman, not of our 
party, who had drawn his horse to one side to let us 
pass, was quicker than they all. Did you not think 
yourself well paid, sir, when you kissed the hand to 
which you restored the glove ? All here, I think, 
may have heard my name. If any hath heard aught 
that ever I did in all my life to tarnish it, I pray him 
to speak now and shame me before you all ! " 

Clayborne started up. " I remember that day at 


Windsor, lady ! " he cried. " The man of whom I 
afterward asked your name was a most libertine cour- 
tier, and he raised his hat when he spoke of you, call- 
ing you a lily which the mire of the court could not 
besmirch. I will believe all good, but no harm of 
you, lady ! " 

He sat down, and Master Sandys said gravely: 
" Men need not be courtiers to have known of a lady 
of great wealth and high birth, a ward of the King's, 
and both beautiful and pure. I nor no man else, I 
think, ever heard aught of the Lady Jocelyn Leigh 
but what became a daughter of her line." 

A murmur of assent went round the circle. The 
Governor, leaning forward from his seat, his wife's 
hand in his, gravely bent his head. " All this is 
known, lady," he said courteously. 

She did not answer ; her eyes were upon the King's 
favorite, and the circle waited with her. 

" It is known," said my lord. 

She smiled proudly. " For so much grace, thanks, 
my lord," she said, then addressed herself again to 
the Governor: "Your Honor, that is the past, the 
long past, the long, long past, though not a year has 
gone by. Then I was a girl, proud and careless; 
now, your Honor, I am a woman, and I stand here in 
the dignity of suffering and peril. I fled from Eng- 
land " — She paused, drew herself up, and turned 
upon my lord a face and form so still, and yet so 
expressive of noble indignation, outraged womanhood, 
scorn, and withal a kind of angry pity, that small 
wonder if he shrank as from a blow. " I left the only 
world I knew," she said. " I took a way low and 
narrow and dark and set with thorns, but the only 
way that I — alone and helpless and bewildered — 


could find, because that I, Jocelyn Leigh, willed not 
to wed with you, my Lord Carnal. Why did you 
follow me, my lord ? You knew that I loved you not. 
You knew my mind, and that I was weak and friend- 
less, and you used your power. I must tell you, my 
lord, that you were not chivalrous, nor compassionate, 
nor brave " — 

" I loved you ! " he cried, and stretched out his arm 
toward her across the table. He saw no one but her, 
L^i>y spoke to none but her. There was a fierce yearning 
and a hopelessness in his voice and bent head and 
outstretched arm that lent for the time a tragic dig- 
nity to the pageant, evil and magnificent, of his life. 

" You loved me," she said. " I had rather you had 
hated me, my lord. I came to Virginia, your Honor, 
and men thought me the thing I professed myself. 
In the green meadow beyond the church they wooed 
me as such. This one came and that one, and at last 
a fellow, when I said him nay and bade him begone, 
did dare to seize my hands and kiss my lips. While 
I struggled one came and flung that dastard out of 
the waj% then asked me plainly to become his wife, 
and there was no laugh or insult in his voice. I 
was wearied and fordone and desperate. ... So I 
met my husband, and so I married him. That same 
day I told him a part of my secret, and when my 
Lord Carnal was come I told him all. ... I had not 
met with much true love or courtesy or compassion in 
my life. When I saw the danger in which he stood 
because of me, I told him he might free himself from 
that coil, might swear to what they pleased, whistle 
me off, save himself, and I would say no word of 
blame. There was wine upon the table, and he filled 
a cup and brought it to me, and we drank of it 


together. We drank of the same cup then, your 
Honor, and we will drink of it still. We twain were 
wedded, and the world strove to part us. Which of 
you here, in such quarrel, would not withstand the 
world? Lady Wyatt, would not thy husband hold 
thee, while he lived, against the world ? Then speak 
for mine ! " 

" Frank, Frank ! " cried Lady Wyatt. " They love /^. 
each other ! " 

" If he withstood the King," went on the King's 
ward, " it was for his honor and for mine. If he fled 
from Virginia, it was because I willed it so. Had he 
stayed, my Lord Carnal, and had you willed to follow 
me again, you must have made a yet longer journey 
to a most distant bourne. That wild night when we 
fled, why did you come upon us, my lord ? The moon 
burst forth from a black cloud, and you stood there 
upon the wharf above us, calling to the footsteps be- 
hind to hasten. We would have left you there in 
safety, and gone ourselves alone down that stream as 
black and strange as death. Why did you spring 
down the steps and grapple with the minister? And 
he that might have thrust you beneath the flood and 
drowned you there did but fling you into the boat. 
We wished not your company, my lord ; we would 
willingly have gone without you. I trust, my lord, 
you have made honest report of this matter, and have 
told these gentlemen that my husband gave you, a 
prisoner whom he wanted not, all fair and honorable 
treatment. That you have done this I dare take my 
oath, my lord " — 

She stood silent, her eyes upon his. The men 
around stirred, and a little flash like the glint of 
drawn steel went from one pair of eyes to another. 


" My lord, my lord ! " said the King's ward. " Long 
ago you won my hatred ; an you would not win my 
contempt, speak truth this day ! " 

In his eyes, which he had never taken from her 
face, there leaped to meet the proud appeal in her 
own a strange fire. That he loved her with a great 
and evil passion, I, who needs had watched him closely, 
had long known. Suddenly he burst into jarring 
laughter. " Yea, he treated me fairly enough, damn 
him to everlasting hell ! But he 's a pirate, sweet 
bird ; he 's a pirate, and must swing as such ! " 

" A pirate ! " she cried. " But he was none ! My 
lord, you know he was none ! Your Honor " — 

The Governor interrupted her : " He made him- 
self captain of a pirate ship, lady. He took and sunk 
ships of Spain." 

" In what sort did he become their chief ? " she 
cried. " In such sort, gentlemen, as the bravest of 
you, in like straits, would have been blithe to be, an 
you had had like measure of wit and daring ! Your 
Honor, the wind before which our boat drave like a 
leaf, the waves that would engulf us, wrecked us upon 
a desert isle. There was no food or water or shelter. 
That night, while we slept, a pirate ship anchored off 
the beach, and in the morning the pirates came ashore 
to bury their captain. My husband met them alone, 
fought their would-be leaders one by one, and forced 
the election to fall upon himself. Well he knew that 
if he left not that isle their leader, he would leave it 
their captive ; and not he alone ! God's mercy, gen- 
tlemen, what other could he do ? I pray you to hold 
him absolved from a willing embrace of that life I 
Sunk ships of Spain ! Yea, forsooth ; and how long 
hath it been since other English gentlemen sunk other 


ships of Spain ? The world hath changed indeed if 
to fight the Spaniard in the Indies, e'en though at 
home we be at peace with him, be conceived so black 
a crime ! He fought their galleons fair and knightly, 
with his life in his hand ; he gave quarter, and while 
they called him chief those pirates tortured no pris- 
oner and wronged no woman. Had he not been 
there, would the ships have been taken less surely ? 
Had he not been there, God wot, ships and ships' 
boats alike would have sunk or burned, and no Span- 
ish men and women had rowed away and blessed a 
generous foe. A pirate ! He, with me and with the 
minister and with my Lord Carnal, was prisoner to 
the pirates, and out of that danger he plucked safety 
for us all ! Who hath so misnamed a gallant gentle- 
man ? Was it you, my lord ? " 

Eyes and voice were imperious, and in her cheeks 
burned an indignant crimson. My lord's face was set 
and white ; he looked at her, but spoke no word. 

" The Spanish ships might pass, lady," said the 
Governor ; " but this is an English ship, with the 
flag of England above her." 

" Yea," she said. " What then ? " 

The circle rustled again. The Governor loosed his 
wife's fingers and leaned forward. " You plead well, 
lady ! " he exclaimed. " You might win, an Captain 
Percy had not seen fit to fire upon us." 

A dead silence followed his words. Outside the 
square window a cloud passed from the face of the 
sun, and a great burst of sunshine entered the cabin. 
She stood in the heart of it, and looked a goddess 
angered. My lord, with his haggard face and burn- 
ing eyes, slowly rose from his seat, and they faced 
each other. 


"You told them not who fired those guns, who 
sunk that pirate ship ? " she said. " Because he was 
your enemy, you held your tongue ? Knight and 
gentleman — my Lord Carnal — my Lord Coward ! " 

" Honor is an empty word to me," he answered. 
" For you I would dive into the deepest hell, — if 
there he a deeper than that which burns me, day in, 
day out, . . . Jocelyn, Jocelyn, Jocelyn ! " 

" You love me so ? " she said. " Then do me plea- 
sure. Because I ask it of you, tell these men the 
truth." She came a step nearer, and held out her 
clasped hands to him. " Tell them how it was, my 
lord, and I will strive to hate you no longer. The 
harm that you have done me I will pray for strength 
to forgive. Ah, my lord, let me not ask in vain ! 
Will you that I kneel to you?" 

" I fix my own price," he said. " I will do what 
you ask, an you will let me kiss your lips." 

I sprang forward with an oath. Some one behind 
caught both my wrists in an iron grasp and pulled me 
back. " Be not a fool ! " growled Clayborne in my 
ear. " The cord 's loosening fast : if you interfere, it 
may tighten with a jerk ! " I freed my hands from 
his grasp. The Treasurer, sitting next him, leaned 
across the table and motioned to the two seamen be- 
side the window. They left their station, and each 
seized me by an arm. " Be guided, Captain Percy," 
said Master Sandys in a low voice. " We wish you 
well. Let her win you through." 

"First tell the truth, my lord," said the King's 
ward ; " then come and take the reward you ask." 

" Jocelyn ! " I cried. " I command you " — 

She turned upon me a perfectly colorless face. " All 
my life after I will be to you an obedient wife," she 


said. " This once I pray you to hold me excused. . . . 
Speak, my lord." 

There was the mirth of the lost in the laugh with 
which he turned to the Governor. " That pretty little 
tale, sir, that I regaled you with, the day you obligingly 
picked me up, was pure imagination ; the wetting must 
have disordered my reason. A potion sweeter than 
the honey of Hybla, which I am about to drink, hath 
restored me beforehand. Gentlemen all, there was 
mutiny aboard that ship which so providentially sank 
before your very eyes. For why ? The crew, who 
were pirates, and the captain, who was yonder gentle- 
man, did not agree. The one wished to attack you, 
board you, rummage you, and slay, after recondite 
fashions, every mother's son of you ; the other de- 
murred, — so strongly, in fact, that his life ceased to be 
worth a pin's purchase. Indeed, I believe he resigned 
his captaincy then and there, and, declining to lift a 
finger against an English ship, defied them to do their 
worst. He had no hand in the firing of those cul- 
verins ; the mutineers touched them off without so 
much as a ' by your leave.' His attention was other- 
wise occupied. Good sirs, there was not the slight- 
est reason in nature why the ship should have struck 
upon that sunken reef, to the damnation of her people 
and the salvation of yours. "Why do you suppose she 
diverged from the path of safety to split into slivers 
against that fortunate ledge ? " 

The men around drew in their breath, and one or 
two sprang to their feet. My lord laughed again. 
" Have you seen the pious man who left Jamestown 
and went aboard the pirate ship as this gentleman's 
lieutenant ? He hath the strength of a bull. Captain 
Percy here had but to nod his head, and hey, presto ! 


the helmsman was bowled over, and the minister had 
the helm. The ship struck : the pirates went to hell, 
and you, gentlemen, were preserved to order all things 
well in Virginia. May she long be grateful ! The 
man who dared that death rather than attack the ship 
he guessed to be the Company's is my mortal foe, 
whom I will yet sweep from my path, but he is not a 
pirate. Ay, take it down, an it please you, Master 
Secretary ! I retreat from a most choice position, to 
be sure, but what care I ? I see a vantage ground 
more to my liking. I have lost a throw, perhaps, but 
I will recoup ten such losses with one such kiss. By 
your leave, lady." 

He went up to her where she stood, with hanging 
arms, her head a little bent, white and cold and yield- 
ing as a lady done in snow ; gazed at her a moment, 
with his passion written in his fierce eyes and hag- 
gard, handsome face ; then crushed her to him. 

If I could have struck him dead, I would have done 
so. When her word had been kept, she released her- 
self with a quiet and resolute dignity. As for him, he 
sank back into the great chair beside the Governor's, 
j/*« leaned an elbow on the table, and hid his eyes with 
ijjA one shaking hand. 

The Governor rose to his feet, and motioned away 
the two seamen who held me fast. " We '11 have no 
hanging this morning, gentlemen," he announced. 
" Captain Percy, I beg to apologize to you for words 
that were never meant for a brave and gallant gen- 
tleman, but for a pirate who I find does not exist. I 
pray you to forget them, quite." 

I returned his bow, but my eyes traveled past 

" I will allow you no words with my Lord Carnal," 


he said. " With your wife, — that is different." He 
moved aside with a smile. 

She was standing, pale, with downcast eyes, where 
my lord had left her. " Jocelyn," I said. She turned 
toward me, crimsoned deeply, uttered a low cry, half 
laughter, half a sob, then covered her face with her 
hands. I took them away and spoke her name again, 
and this time she hid her face upon my breast. 

A moment thus ; then — for all eyes were upon her 
— I lifted her head, kissed her ? and gave her to Lady £•**• ^ 
Wyatt, whom I found at my side. "I commend my oC ?'^ *' 
wife to your ladyship's care," I said. " As you are 
woman, deal sisterly by her ! " 

" You may trust me, sir," she made answer, the 
tears upon her cheeks. " I did not know, — I did not 
understand. . . . Dear heart, come away, — come 
away with Margaret Wyatt." 

Clayborne opened the door of the cabin, and stood 
aside with a low bow. The men who had sat to judge 
me rose ; only the King's favorite kept his seat. With 
Lady Wyatt's arm about her, the King's ward passed 
between the lines of standing gentlemen to the door, 
there hesitated, turned, and, facing them with I know 
not what of pride and shame, wistfulness of entreaty 
and noble challenge to belief in the face and form that 
were of all women's most beautiful, curtsied to them 
until her knee touched the floor. She was gone, and 
the sunlight with her. 

When I turned upon that shameless lord where he 
sat in his evil beauty, with his honor dead before him, 
men came hastily in between. I put them aside with 
a laugh. I had but wanted to look at him. I had no 
sword, — already he lay beneath my challenge, — and 
words are weak things. 


At length he rose, as arrogant as ever in his port, 
as evilly superb in his towering pride, and as amaz- 
ingly indifferent to the thoughts of men who lied not. 
" This case hath wearied me," he said. " I will retire 
for a while to rest, and in dreams to live over a past 
sweetness. Give you good-day, gentles ! Sir Francis 
Wyatt, you will remember that this gentleman did 
resist arrest, and that he lieth under the King's dis- 
pleasure ! " So saying he clapped his hat upon his 
head and walked out of the cabin. The Company's 
officers drew a long breath, as if a fresher air had 
come in with his departure. 

" I have no choice, Captain Percy, but to keep you 
still under restraint, both here and when we shall 
reach Jamestown," said the Governor. " All that the 
Company, through me, can do, consistent with its duty 
to his Majesty, to lighten your confinement shall be 
done " — 

" Then send him not again into the hold, Sir 
Francis ! " exclaimed the Treasurer, with a wry face. 

The Governor laughed. " Lighter and sweeter 
quarters shall be found. Your wife 's a brave lady, 
Captain Percy " — 

"And a passing fair one," said Clayborne under 
his breath. 

" I left a friend below in the hold, your Honor," I 
said. " He came with me from Jamestown because 
he was my friend. The King hath never heard of 
him. And he 's no more a pirate than I or you, your 
Honor. He is a minister, — a sober, meek, and godly 
man " — 

From behind the Secretary rose the singsong of 
my acquaintance of the hold, Dr. John Pott. " He 
is Jeremy, your Honor, Jeremy who made the town 


merry at Blackfriars. Your Honor remembers him ? 
He had a sickness, and forsook the life and went into 
the country. He was known to the Dean of St. 
Paul's. All the town laughed when it heard that he 
had taken orders." 

" Jeremy ! " cried out the Treasurer. " Nick Bot- 
tom ! Christopher Sly ! Sir Toby Belch ! Sir Francis, 
give me Jeremy to keep in my cabin ! " 

The Governor laughed. " He shall be bestowed 
with Captain Percy where he '11 not lack for company, 
I warrant ! Jeremy ! Ben Jpnson loved him ; they I 
drank together at the Mermaid." 

A little later the Treasurer turned to leave my new 
quarters, to which he had walked beside me, glanced 
at the men who waited for him without, — Jeremy 
had not yet been brought from the hold, — and re- 
turned to my side to say, in a low voice, but with 
emphasis : " Captain Percy has been a long time with- 
out news from home, — from England. What would 
he most desire to hear ? " 

" Of the welfare of his Grace of Buckingham," I 

He smiled. " His Grace is as well as heart could 
desire, and as powerful. The Queen's dog now tug- 
geth the sow by the ears this way or that, as it pleas- 
eth him. Since we are not to hang you as a pirate, 
Captain Percy, I incline to think your affairs in better 
posture than when you left Virginia." 

" I think so too, sir," I said, and gave him thanks 
for his courtesy, and wished him good-day, being 
anxious to sit still and thank God, with my face in 
my hands and summer in my heart. 



TlEED of dicing against myself, and of the books 
that Rolfe had sent me, I betook myself to the gaol 
window, and, leaning against the bars, looked out in 
search of entertainment. The nearest if not the mer- 
riest thing the prospect had to offer was the pillory. 
It was built so tall that it was but little lower than 
the low upper story of the gaol, and it faced my window 
at so short a distance that I could hear the long, whis- 
tling breath of the wretch who happened to occupy it. 
It was not a pleasant sound ; neither was a livid face, 
new branded on the cheek with a great R, and with a 
trickle of dark blood from the mutilated ears staining 
the board in which the head was immovably fixed, a 
pleasant sight. A little to one side was the whipping 
post : a woman had been whipped that morning, and 
her cries had tainted the air even more effectually 
than had the decayed matter with which certain small 
devils had pelted the runaway in the pillory. I looked 
away from the poor rogue below me into the clear, hard 
brightness of the March day, and was most heartily 
weary of the bars between me and it. The wind blew 
keenly ; the sky was blue as blue could be, and the 
river a great ribbon of azure sewn with diamonds. 
All colors were vivid and all distances near. There 
was no haze over the forest ; brown and bare it struck 
the cloudless blue. The marsh was emerald, the green 


of the pines deep and rich, the budding maples redder 
than coral. The church, with the low green graves 
around it, appeared not a stone's throw away, and the 
voices of the children up and down the street sounded 
clearly, as though they played in the brown square 
below me. When the drum beat for the nooning the 
roll was close in my ears. The world looked so bright 
and keen that it seemed new made, and the brilliant 
sunshine and the cold wind stirred the blood like wine. 

Now and then men and women passed through the 
square below. Well-nigh all glanced up at the win- 
dow, and their eyes were friendly. It was known now 
that Buckingham was paramount at home, and my 
Lord Carnal' s following in Virginia was much de- 
cayed. Young Hamor strode by, bravely dressed and 
whistling cheerily, and doffed a hat with a most noble 
broken feather. " We 're going to bait a bear below 
the fort ! " he called. " Sorry you '11 miss the sport ! 
There will be all the world — and my Lord Carnal." 
He whistled himself away, and presently there came 
along Master Edward Sharpless. He stopped and 
stared at the rogue in the pillory, — with no presci- 
ence, I suppose, of a day when he was to stand there 
himself; then looked up at me with as much male- 
volence as his small soul could write upon his mean 
features, and passed on. He had a jaded look ; more- 
over, his clothes were swamp-stained and his cloak had 
been torn by briers. " What did you go to the forest 
for ? " I muttered. 

The key grated in the door behind me, and it opened 
to admit the gaoler and Diccon with my dinner, — 
which I was not sorry to see. " Sir George sent the 
venison, sir," said the gaoler, grinning, " and Master 
Piersey the wild fowl, and Madam West the pasty 


and the marchpane, and Master Pory the sack. Be 
there anything you lack, sir ? " 

" Nothing that you can supply," I answered curtly. 

The fellow grinned again, straightened the things 
upon the table, and started for the door. " You can 
stay until I come for the platters," he said to Diccon, 
and went out, locking the door after him with osten- 

I applied myself to the dinner, and Diccon went to 
the window, and stood there looking out at the blue sky 
and at the man in the pillory. He had the freedom 
of the gaol. I was somewhat more straitly confined, 
though my friends had easy access to me. As for 
Jeremy Sparrow, he had spent twenty-four hours in 
gaol, at the end of which time Madam West had a fit 
of the spleen, declared she was dying, and insisted 
upon Master Sparrow's being sent for to administer 
consolation ; Master Bucke, unfortunately, having gone 
up to Henricus on business connected with the college. 
From the bedside of that despotic lady Sparrow was 
called to bury a man on the other side of the river, 
and from the grave to marry a couple at Mulberry 
Island. And the next day being Sunday, and no min- 
ister at hand, he preached again in Master Bueke's 
pulpit, — and preached a sermon so powerful and 
moving that its like had never been heard in Virginia, 
They marched him not back from the pulpit to gaol. 
There were but five ministers in Virginia, and there 
were a many more sick to visit and dead to bury. 
Master Bucke, still feeble in body, tarried up river 
discussing with Thorpe the latter's darling project of 
converting every imp of an Indian this side the South 
Sea, and Jeremy slipped into his old place. There had 
been some talk of a public censure, but it died away. 


The pasty and sack disposed of, I turned in my 
seat and spoke to Diccon : " I looked for Master Rolfe 
to-day. Have you heard aught of him ? " 

"No," he answered. As he spoke, the door was 
opened and the gaoler put in his head. " A messenger 
from Master Rolfe, captain." He drew back, and the 
Indian Nantauquas entered the room. 

Rolfe I had seen twice since the arrival of the 
George at Jamestown, but the Indian had not been 
with him. The 3 r oung chief now came forward and 
touched the hand I held out to him. " My brother 
will be here before the sun touches the tallest pine," 
he announced in his grave, calm voice. " He asks 
Captain Percy to deny himself to any other that may 
come. He wishes to see him alone." 

" I shall hardly be troubled with company," I said. 
" There 's a bear-baiting toward." 

Nantauquas smiled. " My brother asked me to find 
a bear for to-day. I bought one from the Paspaheghs 
for a piece of copper, and took him to the ring below 
the fort." 

" Where all the town will presently be gone," I 
said. " I wonder what Rolfe did that for ! " 

Filling a cup with sack, I pushed it to the Indian 
across the table. " You are little in the woods nowa- 
days, Nantauquas." 

His fine dark face clouded ever so slightly. " Ope- 
chancanough has dreamt that I am Indian no longer. 
Singing birds have lied to him, telling him that I love 
the white man, and hate my own color. He calls me 
no more his brave, his brother Powhatan's dear son. 
I do not sit by his council fire now, nor do I lead his 
war bands. When I went last to his lodge and stood 
before him, his eyes burned me like the coals the 


Monacans once closed my hands upon. He would 
not speak to me." 

" It would not fret me if he never spoke again," I 
said. " You have been to the forest to-day ? " 

"Yes," he replied, glancing at the smear of leaf 
mould upon his beaded moccasins. " Captain Percy's 
eyes are quick ; he should have been an Indian. I 
went to the Paspaheghs to take them the piece of cop- 
per. I could tell Captain Percy a curious thing " — 

" Well ? " I demanded, as he paused. 

" I went to the lodge of the werowance with the 
copper, and found him not there. The old men de- 
clared that he had gone to the weirs for fish, — he and 
ten of his braves. The old men lied. I had passed 
the weirs of the Paspaheghs, and no man was there. I 
sat and smoked before the lodge, and the maidens 
brought me chinquapin cakes and pohickory ; for 
Nantauquas is a prince and a welcome guest to all 
save Opechancanough. The old men smoked, with 
their eyes upon the ground, each seeing only the days 
when he was even as Nantauquas. They never knew 
when a wife of the werowance, turned child by pride, 
unfolded a doeskin and showed Nantauquas a silver 
cup carved all over and set with colored stones." 

" Humph ! " 

"The cup was a heavy price to pay," continued 
the Indian. " I do not know what great thing it 

" Humph ! " I said again. " Did you happen to 
meet Master Edward Sharpless in the forest?" 

He shook his head. " The forest is wide, and there 
are many trails through it. Nantauquas looked for 
that of the werowance of the Paspaheghs, but found it 
not. He had no time to waste upon a white man." 


He gathered his otterskin mantle about him and 
prepared to depart. I rose and gave him my hand, 
for I thoroughly liked him, and in the past he had 
made me his debtor. " Tell Rolfe he will find me 
alone," I said, " and take my thanks for your pains, 
Nantauquas. If ever we hunt together again, may I 
have the chance to serve you ! I bear the scars of the 
wolf's teeth yet ; you came in the nick of time, that 

The Indian smiled. " It was a fierce old wolf. I 
wish Captain Perc} r free with all my heart, and then 
we will hunt more wolves, he and I." 

When he was gone, and the gaoler and Diccon with 
him, I returned to the window. The runaway in the 
pillory was released, and went away homewards, stag- 
gering beside his master's stirrup. Passers-by grew 
more and more infrequent, and up the street came 
faint sounds of laughter and hurrahing, — the bear 
must be making good sport. I could see the half- 
moon, and the guns, and the flag that streamed in the 
wind, and on the river a sail or two, white in the sun- 
light as the gulls that swooped past. Beyond rose 
the bare masts of the George. The Santa Teresa 
rode no more forever in the James. The King's ship 
was gone home to the King without the freight he 
looked for. Three days, and the George would spread 
her white wings and go down the wide river, and I 
with her, and the King's ward, an<3 the King's some- 
time f avorite7~""Ti:ooked down the wind-ruffled stream, 
and saw the great bay into which it emptied, and 
beyond the bay the heaving ocean, dark and light, 
league on league, league on league ; then green Eng- 
land, and London, and the Tower. The vision dis- 
turbed me less than once it would have done. Men 


that I knew and trusted were to be passengers on that 
ship, as well as one I knew and did not trust. And 
if, at the journey's end, I saw the Tower, I saw also 
his Grace of Buckingham. Where I hated he hated, 
and was now powerful enough to strike. 

The wind blew from the west, from the unknown. 
I turned my head, and it beat against my forehead, 
cold and fragrant with the essence of the forest, — 
pine and cedar, dead leaves and black mould, fen and 
hollow and hill, — all the world of woods over which 
it had passed. The ghost of things long dead, which 
face or voice could never conjure up, will sometimes 
start across our path at the beckoning of an odor. 
A day in the Starving Time came back to me : how 
I had dragged myself from our broken palisade and 
crazy huts, and the groans of the famished and the 
plague-stricken, and the presence of the unburied dead, 
across the neck and into the woods, and had lain down 
there to die, being taken with a sick fear and horror 
of the place of cannibals behind me ; and how weak I 
was ! — too weak to care any more. I had been a 
strong man, and it had come to that, and I was con- 
tent to let it be. The smell of the woods that day, the 
chill brown earth beneath me, the blowing wind, the 
long stretch of the river gleaming between the pines, 
. . . and fair in sight the white sails of the Patience 
and the Deliverance. 

I had been too nigh gone then to greatly care that I 
was saved ; now I cared, and thanked God for my life. 
Come what might in the future, the past was mine. 
Though I should never see my wife again, I had that 
hour in the state cabin of the George. I loved, and 
was loved again. 

There was a noise outside the door, and Eolfe's 


voice speaking to the gaoler. Impatient for his en- 
trance I started toward the door, but when it opened 
he made no move to cross the threshold. " I am not 
coming in," he said, with a face that he strove to keep 
grave. " I only came to bring some one else." With 
that he stepped back, and a second figure, coming 
forward out of the dimness behind him, crossed the 
threshold. It was a woman, cloaked and hooded. 
The door was drawn to behind her, and we were alone 

Beside the cloak and hood she wore a riding mask. 
" Do you know who it is ? " she asked, when she had 
stood, so shrouded, for a long minute, during which I 
had found no words with which to welcome her. 

"Yea," I answered: "the princess in the fairy 

She freed her dark hair from its covering, and un- 
clasping her cloak let it drop to the floor. " Shall I 
unmask ? " she asked, with a sigh. " Faith ! I should 
keep the bit of silk between your eyes, sir, and my 
blushes. Am I ever to be the forward one ? Do you 
not think me too bold a lady ? " As she spoke, her 
white hands were busy about the fastening of her 
mask. " The knot is too hard," she murmured, with 
a little tremulous laugh and a catch of her breath. 

I untied the ribbons. 

" May I not sit down?" she said plaintively, but 
with soft merriment in her eyes. " I am not quite 
strong yet. My heart — you do not know what pain 
I have in my heart sometimes. It makes me weep of 
nights and when none are by, indeed it does ! " 

There was a settle beneath the window. I led her 
to it, and she sat down. 

" You must know that I am walking in the Govern- 


or's garden, that hath only a lane between it and the 
gaol." Her eyes were downcast, her cheeks pure rose. 

" When did you first love me ? " I demanded. 

" Lady Wyatt must have guessed why Master Rolfe 
alone went not to the bear-baiting, but joined us in 
the garden. She said the air was keen, and fetched 
me her mask, and then herself went indoors to em- 
broider Samson in the arms of Delilah.' 

" Was it here at Jamestown, or was it when we 
were first wrecked, or on the island with the pink hill 
when you wrote my name in the sand, or " — 

" The George will sail in three days, and we are to 
be taken back to England after all. It does not scare 
me now." 

" In all my life I have kissed you only once," I said. 

The rose deepened, and in her eyes there was laugh- 
ter, with tears behind. " You are a gentleman of 
determination," she said. " If you are bent upon 
having your way, I do not know that I — that I — can 
help myself. I do not even know that I want to help 

Outside the wind blew and the sun shone, and the 
laughter from below the fort was too far away and 
elfin to jar upon us. The world forgot us, and we 
were well content. There seemed not much to say : I 
suppose we were too happy for words. I knelt beside 
her, and she laid her hands in mine, and now and then 
we spoke. In her short and lonely life, and in my 
longer stern and crowded one, there had been little 
tenderness, little happiness. In her past, to those 
about her, she had seemed bright and gay ; I had been 
a comrade whom men liked because I could jest as 
well as fight. Now we were happy, but we were not 
gay. Each felt for the other a great compassion ; 


each knew that though we smiled to-day, the groan 
and the tear might be to-morrow's due ; the sunshine 
around us was pure gold, but that the clouds were 
mounting we knew full well. 

" I must soon be gone," she said at last. " It is a 
stolen meeting. I do not know when we shall meet 

She rose from the settle, and I rose with her, and 
we stood together beside the barred window. There 
was no danger of her being seen ; street and square 
were left to the wind and the sunshine. My arm was 
around her, and she leaned her head against my breast. 
" Perhaps we shall never meet again," she said. 

" The winter is over," I answered. " Soon the trees 
will be green and the flowers in bloom. I will not 
believe that our spring can have no summer." 

She took from her bosom a little flower that had 
been pinned there. It lay, a purple star, in the hollow 
of her hand. " It grew in the sun. It is the first 
flower of spring." She put it to her lips, then laid it 
upon the window ledge beside my hand. " I have 
brought you evil gifts, — foes and strife and peril. 
Will you take this little purple flower — and all my 
heart beside ? " 

I bent and kissed first the tiny blossom, and then 
the lips that had proffered it. " I am very rich," I 

The sun was now low, and the pines in the square 
and the upright of the pillory cast long shadows. The 
wind had fallen and the sounds had died away. It 
seemed very still. Nothing moved but the creeping 
shadows until a flight of small white-breasted birds 
went past the window. " The snow is gone," I said. 
" The snowbirds are flying north." 


" The woods will soon be green," she murmured 
wistfully. " Ah, if we could ride through them once 
more, back to Weyanoke " — 

" To home," I said. 

" Home," she echoed softly. 

There was a low knocking at the door behind us. 
" It is Master Rolfe's signal," she said. " I must not 
stay. Tell me that you love me, and let me go." 

I drew her closer to me and pressed my lips upon 
her bowed head. " Do you not know that I love you ? " 
I asked. 

" Yea," she answered. " I have been taught it. 
Tell me that you believe that God will be good to us. 
Tell me that we shall be happy yet ; for oh, I have a 
boding heart this day ! " 

Her voice broke, and she lay trembling in my arms, 
her face hidden. " If the summer never comes for 
us" — she whispered. " Good-by, my lover and my 
husband. If I have brought you ruin and death, I 
have brought you, too, a love that is very great. For- 
give me and kiss me, and let me go." 

" Thou art my dearly loved and honored wife," I 
said. " My heart forebodes summer, and joy, and 
peace, and home." 

We kissed each other solemnly, as those who part 
for a journey and a warfare. I sjDoke no word to 
Rolfe when the door was opened and she had passed 
out with her cloak drawn about her face, but we 
clasped hands, and each knew the other for his friend 
indeed. They were gone, the gaoler closing and lock- 
ing the door behind them. As for me, I went back to 
the settle beneath the window, and, falling on my 
knees beside it, buried my face in my arms. 



The sun dropped below the forest, blood red, dye- 
ing the river its own color. There were no clouds in 
the sky, — only a great suffusion of crimson climbing 
to the zenith ; against it the woods were as black as 
war paint. The color faded and the night set in, a 
night of no wind and of numberless stars. On the 
hearth burned a fire. I left the window and sat be- 
side it, and in the hollows between the red embers made 
pictures, as I used to make them when I was a boy. 

I sat there long. It grew late, and all sounds in the 
town were hushed ; only now and then the " All 's 
well ! " of the watch came faintly to my ears. Diccon 
lodged with me ; he lay in his clothes upon a pallet in 
the far corner of the room, but whether he slept or not 
I did not ask. He and I had never wasted words ; 
since chance had thrown us together again we spoke 
only when occasion required. 

The fire was nigh out, and it must have been ten of 
the clock when, with somewhat more of caution and 
less of noise than usual, the key grated in the lock ; 
the door opened, and the gaoler entered, closing it 
noiselessly behind him. There was no reason why he 
should intrude himself upon me after nightfall, and I 
regarded him with a frown and an impatience that 
presently turned to curiosity. 

He began to move about the room, making pretense 


of seeing that there was water in the pitcher beside 
my pallet, that the straw beneath the coverlet was 
fresh, that the bars of the window were firm, and 
ended by approaching the fire and heaping pine upon 
it. It flamed up brilliantly, and in the strong red 
light he half opened a clenched hand and showed me 
two gold pieces, and beneath them a folded paper. I 
looked at his furtive eyes and brutal, doltish face, but 
he kept them blank as a wall. The hand closed again 
over the treasure within it, and he turned away as if 
to leave the room. I drew a noble — one of a small 
store of gold pieces conveyed to me by Rolf e — from 
my pocket, and stooping made it spin upon the hearth 
in the red firelight. The gaoler looked at it askance, 
but continued his progress toward the door. I drew 
out its fellow, set it too to spinning, then leaned back 
against the table. " They hunt in couples," I said. 
" There will be no third one." 

He had his foot upon them before they had done 
spinning. The next moment they had kissed the two 
pieces already in his possession, and he had transferred 
all four to his pocket. I held out my hand for the 
paper, and he gave it to me grudgingly, with a spiteful 
slowness of movement. He would have stayed beside 
me as I read it, but I sternly bade him keep his dis- 
tance ; then kneeling before the fire to get the light, I 
opened the paper. It was written upon in a delicate, 
woman's hand, and it ran thus : — 

An you hold me dear, come to me at once. Come 
without tarrying to the deserted hut on the neck of 
land, nearest to the forest. As you love me, as you 
are my knight, keep this tryst. 

In distress and peril, Thy Wife. 


Folded with it was a line in the commander's hand 
and with his signature : " The bearer may pass without 
the palisade at his pleasure." 

I read the first paper again, refolded it, and rose to 
my feet. " Who brought this, sirrah ? " I demanded. 

His answer was glib enough : " One of the gov- 
ernor's servants. He said as how there was no harm 
in the letter, and the gold was good." 

"When was this?" 

" Just now. No, I did n't know the man." 

I saw no way to discover whether or not he lied. 
Drawing out another gold piece, I laid it upon the 
table. He eyed it greedily, edging nearer and nearer. 

" For leaving this door unlocked," I said. 

His eyes narrowed and he moistened his lips, shift- 
ing from one foot to the other. 

I put down a second piece. " For opening the outer 
door," I said. 

He wet his lips again, made an inarticulate sound 
in his throat, and finally broke out with, " The com- 
mander will nail my ears to the pillory." 

"You can lock the doors after me, and know as 
little as you choose in the morning. No gain without 
some risk." 

" That 's so," he agreed, and made a clutch at the 

I swept it out of his reach. " First earn it," I said 
dryly. " Look at the foot of the pillory an hour from 
now and you '11 find it. I '11 not pay you this side of 
the doors." 

He bit his lips and studied the floor. " You 're a 
gentleman," he growled at last. "I suppose I can 
trust ye." 

" I suppose you can." 


Taking up his lantern he turned toward the door. 
" It 's growing late," he said, with a most uncouth 
attempt to feign a guileless drowsiness. " I '11 to bed, 
captain, when I 've locked up. Good-night to ye ! " 

He was gone, and the door was left unlocked. I 
could walk out of that gaol as I could have walked out 
of my house at Weyanoke. I was free, but should I 
take my freedom ? Going back to the light of the fire 
1 unfolded the paper and stared at it, turning its con- 
tents this way and that in my mind. The hand — but 
once had I seen her writing, and then it had been 
wrought with a shell upon firm sand. I could not 
judge if this were the same. Had the paper indeed 
come from her ? Had it not ? If in truth it was a 
message from my wife, what had befallen in a few 
hours since our parting ? If it was a forger's lie, what 
trap was set, what toils were laid ? I walked up and 
down, and tried to think it out. The strangeness of it 
all, the choice of a lonely and distant hut for trysting 
place, that pass coming from a sworn officer of the 
Company, certain things I had heard that day . . . 
A trap . . . and to walk into it with my eyes open. 
. . . An you hold me dear. As you are my knight, 
keep this tryst. In distress and peril. . . . Come 
what might, there was a risk I could not run. 

I had no weapons to assume, no preparations to 
make. Gathering up the gaoler's gold I started to- 
ward the door, opened it, and going out would have 
closed it softly behind me but that a booted leg thrust 
across the jamb prevented me. " I am going wdth 
you," said Diccon in a guarded voice. " If you try to 
prevent me, I will rouse the house." His head was 
thrown back in the old way ; the old daredevil look 
was upon his face. " I don't know why you are 


going," he declared, " but there '11 be danger, any- 

" To the best of my belief I am walking into a 
trap," I said. 

" Then it will shut on two instead of one," he 
answered doggedly. 

By this he was through the door, and there was no 
shadow of turning on his dark, determined face. I 
knew my man, and v/asted no more words. Long 
ago it had grown to seem the thing most in nature 
that the hour of danger should find us side by side. 

When the door of the firelit room was shut, the gaol 
was in dai'kness that might be felt. It was very still: 
the few other inmates were fast asleep ; the gaoler 
was somewhere out of sight, dreaming with open eyes. 
We groped our way through the passage to the stairs, 
noiselessly descended them, and found the outer door 
unchained, unbarred, and slightly ajar. 

When I had laid the gold beneath the pillory, we 
struck swiftly across the square, being in fear lest the 
watch should come upon us, and took the first lane 
that led toward the palisade. Beneath the burning 
stars the town lay stark in sleep. So bright in the 
wintry air were those far-away lights that the dark- 
ness below them was not great. We could see the 
low houses, the shadowy pines, the naked oaks, the 
sandy lane glimmering away to the river, star-strewn 
to match the heavens. The air was cold, but exceed- 
ingly clear and still. Now and then a dog barked, or 
wolves howled in the forest across the river. We kept 
in the shadow of the houses and the trees, and went 
with the swiftness, silence, and caution of Indians. 

The last house we must pass before reaching the 
palisade was one that Rolfe owned, and iD which he 


lodged when business brought him to Jamestown. It 
and some low outbuildings beyond it were as dark as 
the cedars in which they were set, and as silent as the 
grave. Rolfe and his Indian brother were sleeping 
there now, while I stood without. Or did they sleep ? 
Were they there at all? Might it not have been 
Rolfe who had bribed the gaoler and procured the 
pass from West ? Might I not find him at that strange 
trysting place ? Might not all be well, after all ? I 
was sorely tempted to rouse that silent house and 
demand if its master were within. I did it not. 
Servants were there, and noise would be made, and 
time that might be more precious than life-blood was 
flying fast. I went on, and Diccon with me. 

There was a cabin built almost against the palisade, 
and here one man was supposed to watch, whilst an- 
other slept. To-night we found both asleep. I shook 
the younger to his feet, and heartily cursed him for 
his negligence. He listened stupidly, and read as stu- 
pidly, by the light of his lantern, the pass which I 
thrust beneath his nose. Staggering to his feet, and 
drunk with his unlawful slumber, he fumbled at the 
fastenings of the gate for full three minutes before 
the ponderous wood finally swung open and showed the 
road beyond. " It 's all right," he muttered thickly. 
<; The commander's pass. Good-night, the three of ye ! " 

" Are you drunk or drugged ? " I demanded. 
" There are only two. It 's not sleep that is the mat- 
ter with you. What is it ? " 

He made no answer, but stood holding the gate open 
and blinking at us with dull, unseeing eyes. Some- 
thing ailed him besides sleep ; he may have been 
drugged, for aught I know. When we had gone some 
yards from the gate, we heard him say again, in pre- 


cisely the same tone, " Good-night, the three of ye ! " 
Then the gate creaked to, and we heard the bars drawn 
across it. 

Without the palisade was a space of waste land, 
marsh and thicket, tapering to the narrow strip of sand 
and scrub joining the peninsula to the forest, and here 
and there upon this waste ground rose a mean house, 
dwelt in by the poorer sort. All were dark. We left 
them behind, and found ourselves upon the neck, with 
the desolate murmur of the river on either hand, and 
before us the deep blackness of the forest. Suddenly 
Diccon stopped in his tracks and turned his head. " I 
did hear something then," he muttered. " Look, sir ! " 

The stars faintly lit the road that had been trodden 
hard and bare by the feet of all who came and went. 
Down this road something was coming toward us, some- 
thing low and dark, that moved not fast, and not 
slow, but with a measured and relentless pace. " A 
panther ! " said Diccon. 

We watched the creature with more of curiosity 
than alarm. Unless brought to bay, or hungry, or 
wantonly irritated, these great cats were cowardly 
enough. It would hardly attack the two of us. 
Nearer and nearer it came, showing no signs of anger 
and none of fear, and paying no attention to the with- 
ered branch with which Diccon tried to scare it off. 
When it was so close that we could see the white of 
its breast it stopped, looking at us with large un- 
faltering eyes, and slightly moving its tail to and fro. 

" A tame panther ! " ejaculated Diccon. " It must 
be the one Nantauquas tamed, sir. He would have 
kept it somewhere near Master Rolfe's house." 

" And it heard us, and followed us through the 
gate," I said. " It was the third the warder talked of." 


We walked on, and the beast, addressing itself 
to motion, followed at our heels. Now and then we 
looked back at it, but we feared it not. 

As for me, I had begun to think that a panther 
might be the least formidable thing I should meet 
that night. By this I had scarcely any hope — or 
fear — that I should find her at our journey's end. 
The lonesome path that led only to the night-time for- 
est, the deep and dark river with its mournful voice, 
the hard, bright, pitiless stars, the cold, the loneliness, 
the distance, — how should she be there ? And if not 
she, who then ? 

The hut to which I had been directed stood in an 
angle made by the neck and the main bank of the 
river. On one side of it was the water, on the other 
a deep wood. The place had an evil name, and no 
man had lived there since the planter who had built it 
hanged himself upon its threshold. The hut was ruin- 
ous : in the summer tall weeds grew up around it, and 
venomous snakes harbored beneath its rotted and bro- 
ken floor ; in the winter the snow whitened it, and the 
wild fowl flew screaming in and out of the open door 
and the windows that needed no barring. To-night 
the door was shut and the windows in some way ob- 
scured. But the interstices between the logs showed 
red ; the hut was lighted within, and some one was 
keeping tryst. 

The stillness was deadly. It was not silence, for 
the river murmured in the stiff reeds, and far off in 
the midnight forest some beast of the night uttered its 
cry, but a hush, a holding of the breath, an expectant 
horror. The door, warped and shrunken, was drawn 
to, but was not fastened, as I could tell by the un- 
broken line of red light down one side from top to 


6ottom. Making no sound, I laid my hand upon it, 
pushed it open a little way, and looked within the 

I had thought to find it empty or to find it crowded. 
It was neither. A torch lit it, and on the hearth 
burned a fire. Drawn in front of the blaze was an 
old rude chair, and in it sat a slight figure draped 
from head to foot in a black cloak. The head was 
bowed and hidden, the whole attitude one of listless- 
ness and dejection. As I looked, there came a long 
tremulous sigh, and the head drooped lower and lower, 
as if in a growing hopelessness. 

The revulsion of feeling was so great that for the 
moment I was dazed as by a sudden blow. There had 
been time during the walk from the gaol for enough 
of wild and whirling thoughts as to what should greet 
me in that hut ; and now the slight figure by the fire, 
the exquisite melancholy of its posture, its bent head, 
the weeping I could divine, — I had but one thought, 
to comfort her as quickly as I might. Diccon's hand 
was upon my arm, but I shook it off, and pushing the 
door open crossed the uneven and noisy floor to the 
fire, and bent over the lonely figure beside it. " Jo- 
celyn," I said, " I have kept tryst." 

As I spoke, I laid my hand upon the bowed and 
covered head. It was raised, the cloak was drawn 
aside, and there looked me in the eyes the Italian. 

As if it had been the Gorgon's gaze, I was turned 
to stone. The filmy eyes, the smile that would have 
been mocking had it not been so very faint, the pallor, 
the malignance, — I stared and stared, and my heart 
grew cold and sick. 

It was but for a minute ; then a warning cry from 
Diccon roused me. I sprang backward until the width 


of the hearth was between me and the Italian, then 
wheeled and found myself face to face with the King's 
late favorite. Behind him was an open door, and 
beyond it a small inner room, dimly lighted. He stood 
and looked at me with an insolence and a triumph 
most intolerable. His drawn sword was in his hand, 
the jeweled hilt blazing in the firelight, and on his 
dark, superb face a taunting smile. I met it with one 
as bold, at least, but I said no word, good or bad. In 
the cabin of the George I had sworn to myself that 
thenceforward my sword should speak for me to this 

" You came," he said. " I thought you would." 

I glanced around the hut, seeking for a weapon. 
Seeing nothing more promising than the thick, half- 
consumed torch, I sprang to it and wrested it from the 
socket. Diccon caught up a piece of rusted iron from 
the hearth, and together we faced my lord's drawn 
sword and a small, sharp, and strangely shaped dagger 
that the Italian drew from a velvet sheath. 

My lord laughed, reading my thoughts. " You are 
mistaken," he declared coolly. " I am content that 
Captain Percy knows I do not fear to fight him. This 
time I play to win." Turning toward the outer door, 
he raised his hand with a gesture of command. 

In an instant the room was filled. The red-brown 
figures, naked save for the loincloth and the headdress, 
the impassive faces dashed with black, the ruthless 
eyes, — I knew now why Master Edward Sharpless 
had gone to the forest, and what service had been 
bought with that silver cup. The Paspaheghs and I 
were old enemies ; doubtless they would find their task 
a pleasant one. 

"My own knaves, unfortunately, were out of the 


way ; sent home on the Santa Teresa," said my lord, 
still smiling. " I am not yet so poor that I cannot 
hire others. True, Nicolo might have done the work 
just now, when you bent over him so lovingly and 
spoke so softly ; but the river might give up your body 
to tell strange tales. I have heard that the Indians 
are more ingenious, and leave no such witness any- 

Before the words were out of his mouth I had sprung 
upon him, and had caught him by the sword wrist and 
the throat. He strove to free his hand, to withdraw 
himself from my grasp. Locked together, we struggled 
backward and forward in what seemed a blaze of 
lights and a roaring as of mighty waters. Red hands 
caught at me, sharp knives panted to drink my blood ; 
but so fast we turned and writhed, now he uppermost, 
now I, that for very fear of striking the wrong man 
hands and knives could not be bold. I heard Diccon 
fighting, and knew that there would be howling to- 
morrow among the squaws of the Paspaheghs. With 
all his might my lord strove to bend the sword against 
me, and at last did cut me across the arm, causing the 
blood to flow freely. It made a pool upon the floor, 
and once my foot slipped in it, and I stumbled and 
almost fell. 

Two of the Paspaheghs were silent for evermore. 
Diccon had the knife of the first to fall, and it ran red. 
The Italian, quick and sinuous as a serpent, kept be- 
side my lord and me, striving to bring his dagger to 
his master's aid. We two panted hard ; before our 
eyes blood, within our ears the sea. The noise of the 
other combatants suddenly fell. The hush could only 
mean that Diccon was dead or taken. I could not 
look behind to see. With an access of fury I drove 


my antagonist toward a corner of the hut, — the cor- 
ner, so it chanced, in which the panther had taken up 
its quarters. With his heel he struck the beast out of 
his way, then made a last desperate effort to throw me. 
I let him think he was about to succeed, gathered my 
forces and brought him crashing to the ground. The 
sword was in my hand and shortened, the point was at 
his throat, when my arm was jerked backwards. A 
moment, and half a dozen hands had dragged me from 
the man beneath me, and a supple savage had passed 
a thong of deerskin around my arms and pinioned 
them to my sides. The game was up ; there remained 
only to pay the forfeit without a grimace. 

Diccon was not dead ; pinioned, like myself, and 
breathing hard, he leaned sullenly against the wall, 
they that he had slain at his feet. My lord rose, and 
stood over against me. His rich doublet was torn and 
dragged away at the neck, and my blood stained his 
hand and arm. A smile was upon the face that had 
made him master of a kingdom's master. 

" The game was long," he said, " but I have won at 
last. A long good-night to you, Captain Percy, and a 
dreamless sleep ! " 

There was a swift backward movement of the In- 
dians, and a loud " The panther, sir ! Have a care ! " 
from Diccon. I turned. The panther, maddened by 
the noise and light, the shifting figures, the blocked 
doors, the sight and smell of blood, the blow that had 
been dealt it, was crouching for a spring. The red- 
brown hair was bristling, the eyes were terrible. I 
was before it, but those glaring eyes had marked me 
not. It passed me like a bar from a catapult, and the 
man whose heel it had felt was full in its path. One 
of its forefeet sank in the velvet of the doublet ; the 


claws of the other entered the flesh below the temple, 
and tore downwards and across. With a cry as awful 
as the panther's scream the Italian threw himself upon 
the beast and buried his poniard in its neck. The 
panther and the man it had attacked went down to- 

When the Indians had unlocked that dread em- 
brace and had thrust aside the dead brute, there 
emerged from the dimness of the inner room Master 
Edward Sharpless, gray with fear, trembling in every 
limb, to take the reins that had fallen from my lord's 
hands. The King's minion lay in his blood, a ghastly 
spectacle ; unconscious now, but with life before him, 
— life through which to pass a nightmare vision. The 
face out of which had looked that sullen, proud, and 
wicked spirit had been one of great beauty ; it had 
brought him exceeding wealth and power beyond mea- 
sure ; the King had loved to look upon it ; and it had 
come to this. He lived, and I was to die : better my 
death than his life. In every heart there are dark J 

depths, whence at times ugly things creep into the day- , / 
light : but at least I could drive back that unmanly \r - ^ v 
triumph, and bid it never come again. I would have <J 
killed him, but I would not have had him thus. ' 

The Italian was upon his knees beside his master; 
even such a creature could love. From his skeleton 
throat came a low, prolonged, croaking sound, and 
his bony hands strove to wipe away the blood. The 
Paspaheghs drew around us closer and closer, and the 
werowance clutched me by the shoulder. I shook 
him off. " Give the word, Sharpless," I said, " or 
nod, if thou art too frightened to speak. Murder is 
too stern a stuff for such a base kitchen knave as 
thou to deal in." 


White and shaking, he would not meet my eyes, but 
beckoned the werowance to him, and began to whisper 
vehemently ; pointing now to the man upon the floor, 
now to the town, now to the forest. The Indian 
listened, nodded, and glided back to his fellows. 

" The white men upon the Powhatan are many," he 
said in his own tongue, " but they build not their wig- 
wams upon the banks of the Pamunkey. 1 The singing 
birds of the Pamunkey tell no tales. The pine splin- 
ters will burn as brightly there, and the white men 
will smell them not. We will build a fire at Uttamus- 
sac, between the red hills, before the temple and the 
graves of the kings." There was a murmur of assent 
from his braves. 

Uttamussac ! They would probably make a two 
days' journey of it. We had that long, then, to live. 

Captors and captives, we presently left the hut. On 
the threshold I looked back, past the poltroon whom 
I had flung into the river one midsummer day, to that 
prone and bleeding figure. As I looked, it groaned 
and moved. The Indians behind me forced me on ; 
a moment, and we were out beneath the stars. They 
shone so very brightly ; there was one — large, stead- 
fast, golden — just over the dark town behind us, over 
the Governor's house. Did she sleep or did she wake ? 
Sleeping or waking, I prayed God to keep her safe 
and give her comfort. The stars now shone through 
naked branches, black tree trunks hemmed us round, 
and under our feet was the dreary rustling of dead 
leaves. The leafless trees gave way to pines and 
cedars, and the closely woven, scented roof hid the 
heavens, and made a darkness of the world beneath. 

1 The modern York. 



When the dawn broke, it found us traveling 
through a narrow valley, beside a stream of some 
width. Upon its banks grew trees of extraordinary 
height and girth; cypress and oak and walnut, they 
towered into the air, their topmost branches stark and 
black against the roseate heavens. Below that iron 
tracery glowed the firebrands of the maples, and here 
and there a willow leaned a pale green cloud above 
the stream. Mist closed the distances ; we could hear, 
but not see, the deer where they stood to drink in the 
shallow places, or couched in the gray and dreamlike 
recesses of the forest. 

Spectral, unreal, and hollow seems the world at 
dawn. Then, if ever, the heart sickens and the will 
flags, and life becomes a pageant that hath ceased to 
entertain. As I moved through the mist and the 
silence, and felt the tug of the thong that bound me 
to the wrist of the savage who stalked before me, I 
cared not how soon they made an end, seeing how 
stale and unprofitable were all things under the sun. 

Diccon, walking behind me, stumbled over a root 
and fell upon his knees, dragging down with him the 
Indian to whom he was tied. In a sudden access of 
fury, aggravated by the jeers with which his fellows 
greeted his mishap, the savage turned upon his pris- 
oner and would have stuck a knife into him, bound 


and helpless as he was, had not the werowance in- 
terfered. The momentary altercation over, and the 
knife restored to its owner's belt, the Indians relapsed 
into their usual menacing silence, and the sullen march 
was resumed. Presently the stream made a sharp 
bend across our path, and we forded it as best we 
might. It ran dark and swift, and the water was of 
icy coldness. Beyond, the woods had been burnt, the 
trees rising from the red ground like charred and 
blackened stakes, with the ghostlike mist between. 
We left this dismal tract behind, and entered a wood 
of mighty oaks, standing well apart, and with the 
earth below carpeted with moss and early wild flowers. 
The sun rose, the mist vanished, and there set in the 
March day of keen wind and brilliant sunshine. 

Farther on, an Indian bent his bow against a bear 
shambling across a little sunny glade. The arrow did 
its errand, and where the creature fell, there we sat 
down and feasted beside a fire kindled by rubbing two 
sticks together. According to their wont the Indians 
ate ravenously, and when the meal was ended began 
to smoke, each warrior first throwing into the air, as 
thankoffering to Kiwassa, a pinch of tobacco. They 
all stared at the fire around which we sat. and the 
silence was unbroken. One by one, as the pipis were 
smoked, they laid themselves down upon the brown 
leaves and went to sleep, only our two guardians and 
a third Indian over against us remaining wide-eyed 
and watchful. 

There was no hope of escape, and we entertained no 
thought of it. Diccon sat, biting his nails, staring 
into the fire, and I stretched myself out, and burying 
my head in my arms tried to sleep, but could not. 

With the midday we were afoot again, and we went 


steadily on through the bright afternoon. We met 
with no harsh treatment other than our bonds. In- 
stead, when our captors spoke to us, it was with words 
of amity and smiling lips. Who accounteth for In- 
dian fashions ? It is a way they have, to flatter and 
caress the wretch for whom have been provided the 
torments of the damned. If, when at sunset we halted 
for supper and gathered around the fire, the wero- 
wance began to tell of a foray I had led against the 
Paspaheghs years before, and if he and his warriors, 
for all the world like generous foes, loudly applauded 
some daring that had accompanied that raid, none 
the less did the red stake wait for us ; none the less 
would they strive, as for heaven, to wring from us 
groans and cries. 

The sun sank, and the darkness entered the forest. 
In the distance we heard the wolves, so the fire was 
kept up through the night. Diccon and I were tied 
to trees, and all the savages save one lay down and 
slept. I worked awhile at my bonds ; but an Indian 
had tied them, and after a time I desisted from the 
useless labor. We two could have no speech together ; 
the fire was between us, and we saw each other but 
dimly through the flame and wreathing smoke, — as 
each might see the other to-morrow. What Diccon 's 
thoughts were I know not ; mine were not of the 

There had been no rain for a long time, and the 
multitude of leaves underfoot were crisp and dry. 
The wind was loud in them and in the swaying trees. 
Off in the forest was a bog, and the will-o'-the-wisps 
danced over it, — pale, cold flames, moving aimlessly 
here and there like ghosts of those lost in the woods. 
Toward the middle of the night some heavy animal 


crashed through a thicket to the left of us, and tore 
away into the darkness over the loud-rustling leaves ; 
and later on wolves' eyes gleamed from out the ring of 
darkness beyond the firelight. Far on in the night 
the wind fell and the moon rose, changing the forest 
into some dim, exquisite, far-off land, seen only in 
dreams. The Indians awoke silently and all at once, 
as at an appointed hour. They spoke for a while 
among themselves ; then we were loosed from the 
trees, and the walk toward death began anew. 

On this march the werowance himself stalked be- 
side me, the moonlight whitening his dark limbs and 
relentless face. He spoke no word, nor did I deign to 
question or reason or entreat. Alike in tho darkness 
of the deep woods, and in the silver of the glades, and 
in the long twilight stretches of sassafras and sighing 
grass, there was for me but one vision. Slender and 
still and white, she moved before me, with her wide 
dark eyes upon my face. Jocelyn ! Jocelyn ! 

At sunrise the mist lifted from a low hill before 
us, and showed an Indian boy, painted white, poised 
upon the summit, like a spirit about to take its flight. 
He prayed to the One over All, and his voice came 
down to us pure and earnest. At sight of us he 
bounded down the hillside like a ball, and would have 
rushed away into the forest had not a Paspahegh start- 
ing out of line seized him and set him in our midst, 
where he stood, cool and undismayed, a warrior in 
miniature. He was of the Pamunkeys, and his tribe 
and the Paspaheghs were at peace ; therefore, when 
he saw the totem burnt upon the breast of the wero- 
wance, he became loquacious enough, and offered to go 
before us to his village, upon the banks of a stream, 
some bowshots away. He went, and the Paspaheghs 


rested under the trees until the old men of the village 
came forth to lead them through the brown fields and 
past the ring of leafless mulberries to the strangers' 
lodge. Here on the green turf mats were laid for the 
visitors, and water was brought for their hands. Later 
on, the women spread a great breakfast of fish and 
turkey and venison, maize bread, tuckahoe and po- 
hickory. When it was eaten, the Paspaheghs ranged 
themselves in a semicircle upon the grass, the Pamun- 
keys faced them, and each warrior and old man drew 
out his pipe and tobacco pouch. They smoked gravely, 
in a silence broken only by an occasional slow and 
stately question or compliment. The blue incense 
from the pipes mingled with the sunshine falling freely 
through the bare branches ; the stream which ran by 
the lodge rippled and shone, and the wind rose and 
fell in the pines upon its farther bank. 

Diccon and I had been freed for the time from our 
bonds, and placed in the centre of this ring, and when 
the Indians raised their eyes from the ground it was to 
gaze steadfastly at us. I knew their ways, and how 
they valued pride, indifference, and a bravado disre- 
gard of the worst an enemy could do. They should 
not find the white man less proud than the savage. 

They gave us readily enough the pipes I asked for. 
Diccon lit one and I the other, and sitting side by side 
we smoked in a contentment as absolute as the In- 
dians' own. With his eyes upon the werowance, Dic- 
con told an old story of a piece of Paspahegh villainy 
and of the payment which the English exacted, and I 
laughed as at the most amusing thing in the world. 
The story ended, we smoked with serenity for a while ; 
then I drew my dice from my pocket, and, beginning 
to throw, we were at once as much absorbed in the 


game as if there were no other stake in the world 
beside the remnant of gold that I piled between us. 
The strange people in whose power we found ourselves 
looked on with grim approval, as at brave men who 
could laugh in Death's face. 

The sun was high in the heavens when we bade the 
Pamunkeys farewell. The cleared ground, the mul- 
berry trees, and the grass beneath, the few rude lodges 
with the curling smoke above them, the warriors and 
women and brown naked children, — all vanished, and 
the forest closed around us. A high wind was blow- 
ing, and the branches far above beat at one another 
furiously, while the pendent, leafless vines swayed 
against us, and the dead leaves went past in the whirl- 
wind. A monstrous flight of pigeons crossed the 
heavens, flying from west to east, and darkening the 
land beneath like a transient cloud. We came to a 
plain covered with very tall trees that had one and all 
been ringed by the Indians. Long dead, and partially 
stripped of the bark, with their branches, great and 
small, squandered upon the ground, they stood, gaunt 
and silver gray, ready for their fall. As we passed, 
the wind brought two crashing to the earth. In the 
centre of the plain something — deer or wolf or bear 
or man- — lay dead, for to that point the buzzards 
were sweeping from every quarter of the blue. Be- 
yond was a pine wood, silent and dim, with a high green 
roof and a smooth and scented floor. We walked 
through it for an hour, and it led us to the Pamunkey. 
A tiny village, counting no more than a dozen war- 
riors, stood among the pines that ran to the water's 
edge, and tied to the trees that shadowed the slow- 
moving flood were its canoes. When the people came 
forth to meet us, the Paspaheghs bought from them, 


for a string of roanoke, two of these boats ; and we 
made no tarrying, but, embarking at once, rowed up 
river toward [Jttamussac and its three temples. 

Diccon and I were placed in the same canoe. We 
were not bound : what need of bonds, when we had no 
friend nearer than the Powhatan, and when Uttamus- 
sac was so near ? After a time the paddles were put 
into our hands, and we were required to row while our 
captors rested. There was no use in sulkiness ; we 
laughed as at some huge jest, and bent to the task 
with a will that sent our canoe well in advance of its 
mate. Diccon burst into an old song that we had sung 
in the Low Countries, by camp fires, on the march, 
before the battle. The forest echoed to the loud and 
warlike tune, and a multitude of birds rose startled 
from the trees upon the bank. The Indians frowned, 
and one in the boat behind called out to strike the singer 
upon the mouth ; but the werowance shook his head. 
There were none upon that river who might not know 
that the Paspaheghs journeyed to Uttamussac with 
prisoners in their midst. Diccon sang on, his head 
thrown back, the old bold laugh in his eyes. When 
he came to the chorus I joined my voice to his, and 
the woodland rang to the song. A psalm had better 
befitted our lips than those rude and vaunting words, 
seeing that we should never sing again upon this 
earth ; but at least we sang bravely and gayly, with 
minds that were reasonably quiet. 

The sun dropped low in the heavens, and the trees 
cast shadows across the water. The Paspaheghs now 
began to recount the entertainment they meant to offer 
us in the morning. All those tortures that they were 
r «ront to practice with hellish ingenuity they told over, 
if owly and tauntingly, watching to see a lip whiten or 


an eyelid quiver. They boasted that they would make 
women of us at the stake. At all events, they made 
not women of us beforehand. We laughed as we 
rowed, and Diccon whistled to the leaping fish, and 
the fish-hawk, and the otter lying along a fallen tree 
beneath the bank. 

The sunset came, and the river lay beneath the 
colored clouds like molten gold, with the gaunt forest 
black upon either hand. From the lifted paddles 
the water showered in golden drops. The wind died 
away, and with it all noises, and a dank stillness 
settled upon the flood and upon the endless forest. 
We were nearing Uttamussac, and the Indians rowed 
quietly, with bent heads and fearful glances ; for Okee 
brooded over this place, and he might be angry. It 
grew colder and stiller, but the light dwelt in the 
heavens, and was reflected in the bosom of the river. 
The trees upon the southern bank were all pines ; as 
if they had been carved from black stone they stood 
rigid against the saffron sky. Presently, back from 
the shore, there rose before us a few small hills, tree- 
less, but covered with some low, dark growth. The 
one that stood the highest bore upon its crest three 
black houses shaped like coffins. Behind them was 
the deep yellow of the sunset. 

An Indian rowing in the second canoe commenced 
a chant or prayer to Okee. The notes were low and 
broken, unutterably wild and melancholy. One by 
one his fellows took up the strain ; it swelled higher, 
louder, and sterner, became a deafening cry, then 
ceased abruptly, making the stillness that followed 
like death itself. Both canoes swung round from 
the middle stream and made for the bank. When 
the boats had slipped from the stripe of gold into the 


inky shadow of the pines, the Paspaheghs began to 
divest themselves of this or that which they conceived 
Okee might desire to possess. One flung into the 
stream a handful of copper links, another the chaplet 
of feathers from his head, a third a bracelet of blue 
beads. The werowance drew out the arrows from a 
gaudily painted and beaded quiver, stuck them into 
his belt, and dropped the quiver into the water. 

We landed, dragging the canoes into a covert of 
overhanging bushes and fastening them there ; then 
struck through the pines toward the rising ground, and 
presently came to a large village, with many long 
huts, and a great central lodge where dwelt the em- 
perors when they came to Uttamussac. It was vacant 
now, Opechancanough being no man knew where. 

When the usual stately welcome had been extended 
to the Paspaheghs, and when they had returned as 
stately thanks, the werowance began a harangue for 
which I furnished the matter. When he ceased to 
speak a great acclamation and tumult arose, and I 
thought they would scarce wait for the morrow. But 
it was late, and their werowance and conjurer restrained 
them. In the end the men drew off, and the yelling 
of the children and the passionate cries of the women, 
importunate for vengeance, were stilled. A guard 
was placed around the vacant lodge, and we two 
Englishmen were taken within and bound down to 
great logs, such as the Indians use to roll against their 
doors when they go from home. 

There was revelry in the village ; for hours after 
the night came, everywhere were bright firelight and 
the rise and fall of laughter and song. The voices 
of the women were musical, tender, and plaintive, 
and yet they waited for the morrow as for a gala day. 


I thought of a woman who used to sing, softly and 
sweetly, in the twilight at Weyanoke, in the firelight 
at the minister's house. At last the noises ceased, the 
light died away, and the village slept beneath a heaven 
that seemed somewhat deaf and blind. 



A man who hath been a soldier and an adventurer 
into far and strange countries must needs have faced 
Death many times and in many guises. I had learned 
to know that grim countenance, and to have no great 
fear of it. And beneath the ugliness of the mask that 
now presented itself there was only Death at last. I 
was no babe to whimper at a sudden darkness, to 
cry out against a curtain that a Hand chose to drop 
between me and the life I had lived. Death frighted 
me not, but when I thought of one whom I should 
leave behind me I feared lest I should go mad. Had 
this thing come to me a year before, I could have slept 
the night through ; now — now — 

I lay, bound to the log, before the open door of the 
lodge, and, looking through it, saw the pines waving in 
the night wind and the gleam of the river beneath the 
stars, and saw her as plainly as though she had stood 
there under the trees, in a flood of noon sunshine. 
Now she was the Jocelyn Percy of Weyanoke, now of 
the minister's house, now of a storm-tossed boat and 
a pirate ship, now of the gaol at Jamestown. One 
of my arms was free ; I could take from within my 
doublet the little purple flower, and drop my face upon 
the hand that held it. The bloom was quite withered, 
and scalding tears would not give it life again. 

The face that was now gay, now defiant, now pale 


and suffering, became steadfastly the face that had 
leaned upon my breast in the Jamestown gaol, and 
looked at me with a mournful brightness of love and 
sorrow. Spring was in the land, and the summer 
would come, but not to us. I stretched forth my hand 
to the wife who was not there, and my heart lay 
crushed within me. She had been my wife not a year ; 
it was but the other day that I knew she loved me — 

After a while the anguish lessened, and I lay, dull 
and hopeless, thinking of trifling things, counting the 
stars between the pines, Another slow hour, and, a 
braver mood coming upon me, I thought of Diccon, 
who was in that plight because of me, and spoke to 
him, asking him how he did. He answered from the 
other side of the lodge, but the words were scarcely 
out of his mouth before our guard broke in upon us 
commanding silence. Diccon cursed them, whereupon 
a savage struck him across the head with the handle of 
a tomahawk, stunning him for a time. As soon as I 
heard him move I spoke again, to know if he were 
much hurt ; when he had answered in the negative we 
said no more. 

It was now moonlight without the lodge and very 
quiet. The night was far gone ; already we could 
smell the morning, and it would come apace. Know- 
ing the swiftness of that approach, and what the early 
light would bring, I strove for a courage which should 
be the steadfastness of the Christian, and not the 
vainglorious pride of the heathen. If my thoughts 
wandered, if her face would come athwart the verses 
I tried to remember, the prayer I tried to frame, 
perhaps He who made her lovely understood and 
forgave. I said the prayer I used to say when I was 
a child, and wished with all my heart for Jeremy. 


Suddenly, in the first gray dawn, as at a trumpet's 
call, the village awoke. From the long, communal 
houses poured forth men, women, and children ; fires 
sprang up, dispersing the mist, and a commotion arose 
through the length and breadth of the place. The 
women made haste with their cooking, and bore maize 
cakes and broiled fish to the warriors who sat on the 
ground in front of the royal lodge, Diccon and I 
were loosed, brought without, and allotted our share 
of the food. We ate sitting side by side with our 
captors, and Diccon, with a great cut across his head, 
seized the Indian girl who brought him his platter 
of fish, and pulling her down beside him kissed her 
soundly, whereat the maid seemed not ill pleased and 
the warriors laughed. 

In the usual order of things, the meal over, tobacco 
should have followed. But now not a pipe was lit, and 
the women made haste to take away the platters and 
to get all things in readiness. The werowance of the 
Paspaheghs rose to his feet, cast aside his mantle, and 
began to speak. He was a man in the prime of life, 
of a great figure, strong as a Susquehannock, and a 
savage cruel and crafty beyond measure. Over his 
breast, stained with strange figures, hung a chain of 
small bones, and the scalp locks of his enemies fringed 
his moccasins. His tribe being the nearest to James- 
town, and in frequent altercation with us, I had heard 
him speak many times, and knew his power over the 
passions of his people. No player could be more skill- 
ful in gesture and expression, no poet more nice in the 
choice of words, no general more quick to raise a wild 
enthusiasm in the soldiers to whom he called. All 
Indians are eloquent, but this savage was a leader 
among them. 


He spoke now to some effect. Commencing wit'n a 
day in the moon of blossoms when for the first time 
winged canoes brought white men into the Powhatan, 
he came down through year after year to the present 
hour, ceased, and stood in silence, regarding his tri- 
umph. It was complete. In its wild excitement the 
village was ready then and there to make an end of 
us who had sprung to our feet and stood with our 
backs against a great bay tree, facing the maddened 
throng. So much the best for us would it be if the 
tomahawks left the hands that were drawn back to 
throw, if the knives that were flourished in our faces 
should be buried to the haft in our hearts, that we 
courted death, striving with word and look to infuriate 
our executioners to the point of forgetting their former 
purpose in the lust for instant vengeance. It was not 
to be. The werowance spoke again, pointing to the 
hills with the black houses upon them, dimly seen 
through the mist. A moment, and the hands clenched 
upon the weapons fell; another, and we were upon 
the march. 

As one man, the village swept through the forest 
toward the rising ground that was but a few bowshots 
away. The young men bounded ahead to make pre- 
paration ; but the approved warriors and the old men 
went more sedately, and with them walked Diccon and 
I, as steady of step as they. The women and children 
for the most part brought up the rear, though a few 
impatient hags ran past us, calling the men tortoises 
who would never reach the goal. One of these women 
bore a great burning torch, the flame and smoke 
streaming over her shoulder as she ran. Others car- 
ried pieces of bark heaped with the slivers of pine of 
which every wigwam has store 


The sun was yet to rise when we reached a hollow 
amongst the low red hills. Above us were the three 
long houses in which they keep the image of Okee and 
the mummies of their kings. These temples faced 
the crimson east, and the mist was yet about them. 
Hideous priests, painted over with strange devices, the 
stuffed skins of snakes knotted about their heads, in 
their hands great rattles which they shook vehemently, 
rushed through the doors and down the bank to meet 
us, and began to dance around us, contorting their 
bodies, throwing up their arms, and making a hellish 
noise. Diccon stared at them, shrugged his shoulders, 
and with a grunt of contempt sat down upon a fallen 
tree to watch the enemy's manoeuvres. 

The place was a natural amphitheatre, well fitted for 
a spectacle. Those Indians who could not crowd into 
the narrow level spread themselves over the rising 
ground, and looked down with fierce laughter upon 
the driving of the stakes which the young men brought. 
The women and children scattered into the woods be- 
yond the cleft between the hills, and returned bearing 
great armfuls of dry branches. The hollow rang to 
the exultation of the playgoers. Taunting laughter, 
cries of savage triumph, the shaking of the rattles, and 
the furious beating of two great drums combined to 
make a clamor deafening to stupor. And above the 
hollow was the angry reddening of the heavens, and 
the white mist curling up like smoke. 

I sat down beside Diccon on the log. Beneath it 
there were growing tufts of a pale blue, slender- 
stemmed flower. I plucked a handful of the blos- 
soms, and thought how blue they would look against 
the whiteness of her hand ; then dropped them in a 
sudden shame that in that hour I was so little steadfast 


to things which were not of earth. I did not speak 
to Diccon, nor he to me. There seemed no need of 
speech. In the pandemonium to which the world had 
narrowed, the one familiar, matter-of-course thing was 
that he and I were to die together. 

The stakes were in the ground and painted red, the 
wood properly arranged. The Indian woman who 
held the torch that was to light the pile ran past us, 
whirling the wood around her head to make it blaze 
more fiercely. As she went by she lowered the brand 
and slowly dragged it across my wrists. The beating 
of the drums suddenly ceased, and the loud voices died 
away. To Indians no music is so sweet as the cry of 
an enemy ; if they have wrung it from a brave man 
who has striven to endure, so much the better. They 
were very still now, because they would not lose so 
much as a drawing in of the breath. 

Seeing that they were coming for us, Diccon and I 
rose to await them. When they were nearly upon us 
I turned to him and held out my hand. 

He made no motion to take it. Instead he stood 
with fixed eyes looking past me and slightly upwards. 
A sudden pallor had overspread the bronze of his face. 
" There 's a verse somewhere," he said in a quiet voice, 
— "it 's in the Bible, I think, — I heard it once long 
ago, before I was lost : ' / will look unto the hills 
from whence cometh my help ' — Look, sir ! " 

I turned and followed with my eyes the pointing of 
his finger. In front of us the bank rose steeply, bare 
to the summit, — no trees, only the red earth, with 
here and there a low growth of leafless bushes. Be- 
hind it was the eastern sky. Upon the crest, against 
the sunrise, stood the figure of a man, — an Indian. 
From one shoulder hung an otterskin, and a great bow 


was in his hand. His limbs were bare, and as he 
stood motionless, bathed in the rosy light, he looked 
like some bronze god, perfect from the beaded moc- 
casins to the calm, uneager face below the feathered 
headdress. He had but just risen above the brow of 
the hill ; the Indians in the hollow saw him not. 

While Diccon and I stared our tormentors were 
upon us. They came a dozen or more at once, and 
we had no weapons. Two hung upon my arms, while 
a third laid hold of my doublet to rend it from me. 
An arrow whistled over our heads and stuck into a 
tree behind us. The hands that clutched me dropped, 
and with a yell the busy throng turned their faces in 
the direction whence had come the arrow. 

The Indian who had sent that dart before him was 
descending the bank. An instant's breathless hush 
while they stared at the solitary figure ; then the dark 
forms bent forward for the rush straightened, and there 
arose a loud cry of recognition. " The son of Pow- 
hatan ! The son of Powhatan ! " 

He came down the hillside to the level of the hol- 
low, the authority of his look and gesture making way 
for him through the crowd that surged this way and 
that, and walked up to us where we stood, hemmed 
round, but no longer in the clutch of our enemies. 
" It was a very big wolf this time, Captain Percy," he 

" You were never more welcome, Nantauquas," I 
answered, — " unless, indeed, the wolf intends making 
a meal of three instead of two." 

He smiled. " The wolf will go hungry to-day." 
Taking my hand in his he turned to his frowning 
countrymen. " Men of the Pamunkeys ! " he cried. 
" This is Nantauquas' friend, and so the friend of all 


the tribes that called Powhatan ' father.' The fire is 
not for him nor for his servant ; keep it for the Mo- 
nacans and for the dogs of the Long House ! The 
calumet is for the friend of Nantauquas, and the dance 
of the maidens, the noblest buck and the best of the 
weirs " — 

There was a surging forward of the Indians, and a 
fierce murmur of dissent. The werowance, standing 
out from the throng, lifted his voice. " There was a 
time," he cried, " when Nantauquas was the panther 
crouched upon the bough above the leader of the 
herd ; now Nantauquas is a tame panther and rolls at 
the white men's feet ! There was a time when the 
word of the son of Powhatan weighed more than the 
lives of many dogs such as these, but now I know not 
why we should put out the fire at his command ! He 
is war chief no longer, for Opechancanough will have 
no tame panther to lead the tribes. Opechancanough 
is our head, and Opechancanough kindleth a fire in- 
deed ! We will give to this one what fuel we choose, 
and to-night Nantauquas may look for the bones of 
the white men ! " 

He ended, and a great clamor arose. The Paspa- 
heghs would have cast themselves upon us again but 
for a sudden action of the young chief, who had stood 
motionless, with raised head and unmoved face, during 
the werowance's bitter speech. Now he flung up his 
hand, and in it was a bracelet of gold carved and 
twisted like a coiled snake and set with a green stone. 
I had never seen the toy before, but evidently others 
had done so. The excited voices fell, and the Indians, 
Pamunkeys and Paspaheghs alike, stood as though 
turned to stone. 

Nantauquas smiled coldly. " This day hath Ope- 


chancanough made me war chief again. We have 
smoked the peace pipe tog^Sief^- my father's brother 
and I — in the starlight, sitting before his lodge, with 
the wide marshes and the river dark at our feet. 
Singing birds in the forest have been many ; evil 
tales have they told; Opechancanough has stopped 
his ears against their false singing. My friends are 
his friends, my brother is his brother, my word is his 
word : witness the armlet that hath no like ; that 
Opechancanough brought with him when he came 
from no man knows where to the land of the Powha- 
tans, many Huskanawings ago ; that no white men but 
these have ever seen. Opechancanough is at hand ; he 
comes through the forest with his two hundred war- 
riors that are as tall as Susquehannocks, and as brave 
as the children of Wahunsonacock. He comes to the 
temples to pray to Kiwassa for a great hunting. Will 
you, when you lie at his feet, that he ask you, ' Where 
is the friend of my friend, of my war chief, of the 
Panther who is one with me again ? ' " 

There came a long, deep breath from the Indians, 
then a silence, in which they fell back, slowly and 
sullenly ; whipped hounds, but with the will to break 
that leash of fear. 

" Hark ! " said Nantauquas, smiling. " I hear 
Opechancanough and his warriors coming over the 

The noise of many footsteps was indeed audible, 
coming toward the hollow from the woods beyond. 
With a burst of cries, the priests and the conjurer 
whirled away to bear the welcome of Okee to the 
royal worshiper, and at their heels went the chief men 
of the Pamunkeys. The werowance of the Paspa- 
heghs was one that sailed with the wind ; he listened 


to the deepening sound, and glanced at the son of 
Powhatan where he stood, calm and confident, then 
smoothed his own countenance and made a most pa- 
cific speech, in which all the blame of the late proceed- 
ings was laid upon the singing birds. When he had 
done speaking, the young men tore the stakes from 
the earth and threw them into a thicket, while the 
women plucked apart the newly kindled fire and flung 
the brands into a little near-by stream, where they 
went out in a cloud of hissing steam. 

I turned to the Indian who had wrought this mira* 
cle. " Art sure it is not a dream, Nantauquas ? " I 
said. " I think that Opechancanough would not lift 
a finger to save me from all the deaths the tribes 
could invent." 

" Opechancanough is very wise," he answered 
quietly. " He says that now the English will believe 
in his love indeed when they see that he holds dear 
even one who might be called his enemy, who hath 
spoken against him at the Englishmen's council fire. 
He says that for five suns Captain Percy shall feast 
with Opechancanough, and that then he shall be sent 
back free to Jamestown. He thinks that then Cap- 
tain Percy will not speak against him any more, call- 
ing his love to the white men only words with no good 
deeds behind." 

He spoke simply, out of the nobility of his nature, 
believing his own speech. I that was older, and had 
more knowledge of men and the masks that they 
wear, was but half deceived. My belief in the hatred 
of the dark Emperor was not shaken, and I looked 
yet to find the drop of poison within this honey flower. 
How poisoned was that bloom God knows I could not 


** When you were missed, three suns ago," Nantau* 
quas went on, " I and my brother tracked you to the 
hut beside the forest, where we found only the dead 
panther. There we struck the trail of the Paspa- 
heghs ; but presently we came to running water, and 
the trail was gone." 

" We walked up the bed of the stream for half the 
night," I said. 

The Indian nodded. " I know. My brother went 
back to Jamestown for men and boats and guns to go 
to the Paspahegh village and up the Powhatan. He 
was wise with the wisdom of the white men, but I, 
who needed no gun, and who would not fight against 
my own people, I stepped into the stream and walked 
up it until past the full sun power. Then I found a 
broken twig and the print of a moccasin, half hidden 
by a bush, overlooked when the other prints were 
smoothed away. I left the stream and followed the 
trail until it was broken again. I looked for it no 
more then, for I knew that the Paspaheghs had turned 
their faces toward Uttamussac, and that they would 
make a fire where many others had been made, in the 
hollow below the three temples. Instead I went with 
speed to seek Opechancanough. Yesterday, when the 
sun was low, I found him, sitting in his lodge above 
the marshes and the colored river. We smoked the 
peace pipe together, and I am his war chief again. 
I asked for the green stone, that I might show it to 
the Paspaheghs for a sign. He gave it, but he willed 
to come to Uttamussac with me." 

" I owe you my life," I said, with my hand upon 
his. " I and Diccon " — 

What I would have said he put aside with a fine 
gesture. ' 6 Captain Percy is my friend. My brother 


loves him, and he was kind to Matoax when she was 
brought prisoner to Jamestown. I am glad that I 
could pull off this wolf." 

" Tell me one thing," I asked. " Before you left 
Jamestown, had you heard aught of my wife or of my 
enemy ? " 

He shook his head. " At sunrise, the commander 
came to rouse my brother, crying out that you had 
broken gaol and were nowhere to be found, and that 
the man you hate was lying within the guest house, 
sorely torn by some beast of the forest. My brother 
and I followed your trail at once ; the town was scarce 
awake when we left it behind us, — and I did not 

By this we three were alone in the hollow, for all 
the savages, men and women, had gone forth to meet 
the Indian whose word was law from the falls of the far 
west to the Chesapeake. The sun now rode above the 
low hills, pouring its gold into the hollow and bright- 
ening all the world besides. The little stream flashed 
diamonds, and the carven devils upon the black houses 
above us were frightful no longer. There was not a 
menace anywhere from the cloudless skies to the sweet 
and plaintive chant to Kiwassa, sung by women and 
floating to us from the woods beyond the hollow. 
The singing grew nearer, and the rustling of the leaves 
beneath many feet more loud and deep ; then all noise 
ceased, and Opechancanough entered the hollow alone. 
An eagle feather was thrust through his scalp lock ; 
over his naked breast, that was neither painted nor 
pricked into strange figures, hung a triple row of 
pearls ; his mantle was woven of bluebird feathers, as 
soft and sleek as satin. The face of this barbarian 
was dark, cold, and impassive as death. Behind that 


changeless mask, as in a safe retreat, the supersubtle 
devil that was the man might plot destruction and 
plan the laying of dreadful mines. He had dignity 
and courage, — no man denied him that. I suppose 
he thought that he and his had wrongs : God knows ! 
perhaps they had. But if ever we were hard or unjust 
in our dealings with the savages, — I say not that 
this was the case, — at least we were not treacherous 
and dealt not in Judas kisses. 

I stepped forward, and met him on the spot where 
the fire had been. For a minute neither spoke. It 
was true that I had striven against him many a time, 
and I knew that he knew it. It was also true that 
without his aid Nantauquas could not have rescued us 
from that dire peril. And it was again the truth that 
an Indian neither forgives nor forgets. He was my 
saviour, and I knew that mercy had been shown for 
some dark reason which I could not divine. Yet I 
owed him thanks, and gave them as shortly and sim- 
ply as I could. 

He heard me out with neither liking nor disliking 
nor any other emotion written upon his face ; but 
when I had finished, as though he suddenly bethought 
himself, he smiled and held out his hand, white- 
man fashion. Now, when a man's lips widen I look 
into his eyes. The eyes of Opechancanough were as 
fathomless as a pool at midnight, and as devoid of 
mirth or friendliness as the staring orbs of the carven 
imps upon the temple corners. 

" Singing birds have lied to Captain Percy," he 
said, and his voice was like his eyes. " Opechanca- 
nough thinks that Captain Percy will never listen to 
them again. The chief of the Powhatans is a lover 
of the white men, of the English, and of other white 


men, — if there are others. He would call the Eng- 
lishmen his brothers, and be taught of them how to 
rule, and who to pray to " — 

" Let Opechancanough go with me to-day to James- 
town," I said. " He hath the wisdom of the woods ; 
let him come and gain that of the town." 

The Emperor smiled again. " I will come to James- 
town soon, but not to-day nor to-morrow nor the next 
day. And Captain Percy must smoke the peace pipe 
in my lodge above the Pamunkey, and watch my 
young men and maidens dance, and eat with me five 
days. Then he may go back to Jamestown with 
presents for the great white father there, and with 
a message that Opechancanough is coming soon to 
learn of the white men." 

I could have gnashed my teeth at that delay when 
she must think me dead, but it would have been the 
madness of folly to show the impatience which I felt. 
I too could smile with my lips when occasion drove, 
and drink a bitter draught as though my soul delighted 
in it. Blithe enough to all seeming, and with as few 
inward misgivings as the case called for, Diccon and 
I went with the subtle Emperor and the young chief 
he had bound to himself once more, and with their 
fierce train, back to that village which we had never 
thought to see again. A day and a night we stayed 
there ; then Opechancanough sent away the Paspa- 
heghs, — where we knew not, — and taking us with 
him went to his own village above the great marshes 
of the Pamunkey. 



I had before this spent days among the Indians, 
on voyages of discovery, as conqueror, as negotiator 
for food, exchanging blue beads for corn and turkeys. 
Other Englishmen had been with me. Knowing those 
with whom we dealt for sly and fierce heathen, friends 
to-day, to-morrow deadly foes, we kept our muskets 
ready and our eyes and ears open, and, what with the 
danger and the novelty and the bold wild life, man- 
aged to extract some merriment as well as profit from 
these visits. It was different now. 

Day after day I ate my heart out in that cursed 
village. The feasting and the hunting and the tri- 
umph, the wild songs and wilder dances, the fantastic 
mummeries, the sudden rages, the sudden laughter, 
the great fires with their rings of painted warriors, 
the sleepless sentinels, the wide marshes that could 
not be crossed by night, the leaves that rustled so 
loudly beneath the lightest footfall, the monotonous 
days, the endless nights when I thought of her grief, 
of her peril, maybe, — it was an evil dream, and for 
my own pleasure I could not wake too soon. 

Should we ever wake? Should we not sink from 
that dream without pause into a deeper sleep whence 
there would be no waking ? It was a question that I 
asked myself each morning, half looking to find an- 
other hollow between the hills before the night should 


fall. The night fell, and there was no change in the 

I will allow that the dark Emperor to whom we 
were so much beholden gave us courteous keeping. 
The best of the hunt was ours, the noblest fish, the 
most delicate roots. The skins beneath which we 
slept were fine and soft ; the women waited upon us, 
and the old men and warriors held with us much 
stately converse, sitting beneath the budding trees 
with the blue tobacco smoke curling above our heads. 
We were alive and sound of limb, well treated and 
with the promise of release ; we might have waited, 
seeing that wait we must, in some measure of content. 
We did not so. There was a horror in the air. From 
the marshes that were growing green, from the slug- 
gish river, from the rotting leaves and cold black 
earth and naked forest, it rose like an exhalation. 
We knew not what it was, but we breathed it in, and 
it went to the marrow of our bones. 

Opechancanough we rarely saw, though we were 
bestowed so near to him that his sentinels served for 
ours. Like some god, he kept within his lodge with 
the winding passage, and the hanging mats between 
him and the world without. At other times, issuing 
from that retirement, he would stride away into the 
forest. Picked men went with him, and they were 
gone for hours ; but when they returned they bore 
no trophies, brute or human. What they did we 
could not guess. We might have had much comfort 
in Nantauquas, but the morning after our arrival in 
this village the Emperor sent him upon an embassy 
to the Rappahannocks, and when for the fourth time 
the forest stood black against the sunset he had not 
returned. If escape had been possible, we would not 


have awaited the doubtful fulfillment of that promise 
made to us below the Uttamussac temples. But the 
vigilance of the Indians never slept ; they watched us 
like hawks, night and day. And the dry leaves under- 
foot would not hold their peace, and there were the 
marshes to cross and the river. 

Thus four days dragged themselves by, and in the 
early morning of the fifth, when we came from our 
wigwam, it was to find Nantauquas sitting by the fire, 
magnificent in the paint and trappings of the ambas- 
sador, motionless as a piece of bronze, and apparently 
quite unmindful of the admiring glances of the women 
who knelt about the fire preparing our breakfast. 
When he saw us he rose and came to meet us, and I 
embraced him, I was so glad to see him. " The Rap- 
pahannocks feasted me long," he said. " I was afraid 
that Captain Percy would be gone to Jamestown be- 
fore I was back upon the Pamunkey." 

" Shall I ever see Jamestown again, Nantauquas ? " 
I demanded. " I have my doubts." 

He looked me full in the eyes, and there was no 
doubting the candor of his own. " You go with the 
next sunrise," he answered. " Opechancanough has 
given me his word." 

" I am glad to hear it," I said. " Why have we 
been kept at all ? Why did he not free us five days 
agone ? " 

He shook his head. " I do not know. Opechanca- 
nough has many thoughts which he shares with no 
man. But now he will send you with presents for the 
Governor, and with messages of his love to the white 
men. There will be a great feast to-day, and to-night 
the young men and maidens will dance before you. 
Then in the morning you will go." 


" Will you not come with us ? " I asked. " You 
are ever welcome amongst us, Nantauquas, both for 
your sister's sake and for your own. Rolfe will re- 
joice to have you with him again ; he ever grudgeth 
you to the forest." 

He shook his head again. " Nantauquas, the son of 
Powhatan, hath had much talk with himself lately," he 
said simply. " The white men's ways have seemed 
very good to him, and the God of the white men he 
knows to be greater than Okee, and to be good and 
tender ; not like Okee, who sucks the blood of the 
children. He remembers Matoax, too, and how she 
loved and cared for the white men and would weep 
when danger threatened them. And Rolfe is his 
brother and his teacher. But Opechancanough is his 
king, and the red men are his people, and the forest is 
his home. If, because he loved Rolfe, and because 
the ways of the white men seemed to him better than 
his own ways, he forgot these things, he did wrong, 
and the One over All frowns upon him. Now he has 
come back to his home again, to the forest and the 
hunting and the warpath, to his king and his people. 
He will be again the panther crouching upon the 
bough " — 

" Above the white men ? " 

He gazed at me in silence, a shadow upon his face. 
" Above the Monacans," he answered slowly. " Why 
did Captain Percy say ' above the white men ' ? Ope- 
chancanough and the English have buried the hatchet 
forever, and the smoke of the peace pipe will never 
fade from the air. Nantauquas meant ' above the 
Monacans or the Long House dogs.' " 

I put my hand upon his shoulder. " I know you 
did, brother of Rolfe by nature if not by blood ! For- 


get what I said ; it was without thought or meaning. 
If we go indeed to-morrow, I shall be loath to leave 
you behind ; and yet, were I in your place, I should 
do as you are doing." 

The shadow left his face and he drew himself up. 
" Is it what you call faith and loyalty and like a 
knight?" he demanded, with a touch of eagerness 
breaking through the slowness and gravity with which 
an Indian speaks. 

" Yea," I made reply. " I think you good knight 
and true, Nantauquas, and my friend, moreover, who 
saved my life." 

His smile was like his sister's, quick and very bright, 
and leaving behind it a most entire gravity. Together 
we sat down by the fire and ate of the sylvan break- 
fast, with shy brown maidens to serve us and with the 
sunshine streaming down upon us through the trees 
that were growing faintly green. It was a thing to 
smile at to see how the Indian girls manoeuvred to 
give the choicest meat, the most delicate maize cakes, 
to the young war chief, and to see how quietly he 
turned aside their benevolence. The meal over, he 
went to divest himself of his red and white paint, of 
the stuffed hawk and strings of copper that formed his 
headdress, of his gorgeous belt and quiver and his 
mantle of raccoon skins, while Diccon and I sat still 
before our wigwam, smoking, and reckoning the dis- 
tance to Jamestown and the shortest time in which we 
could cover it. 

When we had sat there for an hour the old men and 
the warriors came to visit us, and the smoking must 
commence all over again. The women laid mats in a 
great half circle, and each savage took his seat with per- 
fect breeding ; that is, in absolute silence and with a 


face like u stone. The peace paint was upon them 
all, — red, or red and white ; they sat and looked at the 
ground until I had made the speech of welcome. Soon 
the air was dense with the fragrant smoke ; in the 
thick blue haze the sweep of painted figures had the 
seeming of some fantastic dream. An old man arose 
and made a long and touching speech with much refer- 
ence to calumets and buried hatchets. When he had 
finished a chief talked of Opechancanough's love for 
the English, " high as the stars, deep as Popogusso, 
wide as from the sunrise to the sunset," adding that 
the death of Nemattanow last year and the troubles 
over the hunting grounds had kindled in the breasts of 
the Indians no desire for revenge. With which highly 
probable statement he made an end, and all sat in 
silence looking at me and waiting for my contribution 
of honeyed words. These Pamunkeys, living at a dis- 
tance from the settlements, had but little English to 
their credit, and the learning of the Paspaheghs was 
not much greater. I sat and repeated to them the 
better part of the seventh canto of the second book of 
Master Spenser's "Faery Queen." Then I told them 
the story of the Moor of Venice, and ended by relating 
Smith's tale of the three Turks' heads. It all an- 
swered the purpose to admiration. When at length 
they went away to change their paint for the coming 
feast Diccon and I laughed at that foolery as though 
there were none beside us who could juggle with words. 
We were as light-hearted as children — God forgive 

The day wore on, with relay after relay of food 
which we must taste at least, with endless smoking 
of pipes and speeches that must be listened to and 
answered. When evening came and our entertainers 


drew off to prepare for the dance, they left us as 
wearied as by a long day's march. 

The wind had been high during the day, but with 
the sunset it sank to a desolate murmur. The sky 
wore the strange crimson of the past year at Wey- 
anoke. Against that sea of color the pines were 
drawn in ink, and beneath it the winding, threadlike 
creeks that pierced the marshes had the look of spilt 
blood moving slowly and heavily to join the river that 
was black where the pines shadowed it, red where the 
light touched it. From the marsh arose the cry of 
some great bird that made its home there ; it had a 
lonely and a boding sound, like a trumpet blown above 
the dead. The color died into an ashen gray and the 
air grew cold, with a heaviness beside that dragged 
at the very soul. Diccon shivered violently, turned 
restlessly upon the log that served him as settle, and 
began to mutter to himself. 

" Art cold ? " I asked. 

He shook his head. " Something walked over my 
grave," he said. " I would give all the pohickory 
that was ever brewed by heathen for a toss of aqua 
vita? ! " 

In the centre of the village rose a great heap of logs 
and dry branches, built during the day by the women 
and children. When the twilight fell and the owls 
began to hoot this pile was fired, and lit the place 
from end to end. The scattered wigwams, the scaf- 
folding where the fish were dried, the tall pines and 
wide-branching mulberries, the trodden grass, — all 
flashed into sight as the flame roared up to the top- 
most withered bough. The village glowed like a lamp 
set in the dead blackness of marsh and forest. Ope- 
chancanough came from the forest with a score of 


warriors behind him, and stopped beside me. I rose 
to greet him, as was decent ; for he was an Emperor, 
albeit a savage and a pagan. " Tell the English that 
Opechancanough grows old," he said. " The years 
that once were as light upon him as the dew upon the 
maize are now hailstones to beat him back to the earth 
whence he came. His arm is not swift to strike and 
strong as it once was. He is old ; the warpath and 
the scalp dance please him no longer. He would die 
at peace with all men. Tell the English this ; tell 
them also that Opechancanough knows that they are 
good and just, that they do not treat men whose color 
is not their own like babes, fooling them with toys, 
thrusting them out of their path when they grow trou- 
blesome. The land is wide and the hunting grounds 
are many. Let the red men who were here as many 
moons ago as there are leaves in summer and the 
white men who came yesterday dwell side by side 
in peace, sharing the maize fields and the weirs and 
the hunting grounds together." He waited not for 
my answer, but passed on, and there was no sign of 
age in his stately figure and his slow, firm step. I 
watched him with a frown until the darkness of his 
lodge had swallowed up him and his warriors, and 
mistrusted him for a cold and subtle devil. 

Suddenly, as we sat staring at the fire we were 
beset by a band of maidens, coming out of the woods, 
painted, with antlers upon their heads and pine 
branches in their hands. They danced about us, now 
advancing until the green needles met above our 
heads, now retreating until there was a space of turf 
between us. Their slender limbs gleamed in the fire- 
light ; they moved with grace, keeping time to a plain- 
tive song, now raised by the whole choir, now fallen 


to a single voice. Pocahontas had danced thus before 
the English many a time. I thought of the little 
maid, of her great wondering eyes and her piteous, 
untimely death, of how loving she was to Rolfe and 
how happy they had been in their brief wedded life. 
It had bloomed like a rose, as fair and as early fallen, 
with only a memory of past sweetness. Death was a 
coward, passing by men whose trade it was to out- 
brave him, and striking at the young and lovely and 
innocent. . . . 

We were tired with all the mummery of the day ; 
moreover, every fibre of our souls had been strained 
to meet the hours that had passed since we left the 
gaol at Jamestown. The elation we had felt earlier 
in the day was all gone. Now, the plaintive song, 
the swaying figures, the red light beating against the 
trees, the blackness of the enshrouding forest, the 
low, melancholy wind, — all things seemed strange, 
and yet deadly old, as though we had seen and heard 
them since the beginning of the world. All at once 
a fear fell upon me, causeless and unreasonable, but 
weighing upon my heart like a stone. She was in a 
palisaded town, under the Governor's protection, with 
my friends about her and my enemy lying sick, unable 
to harm her. It was I, not she, that was in danger. 
I laughed at myself, but my heart was heavy, and I 
was in a fever to be gone. 

The Indian girls danced more and more swiftly, 
and their song changed, becoming gay and shrill and 
sweet. Higher and higher rang the notes, faster and 
faster moved the dark limbs ; then, quite suddenly, 
song and motion ceased together. They who had 
danced with the abandonment of wild priestesses to 
some wild god were again but shy brown Indian maids 


who went a,nd set them meekly down upon the g?ass 
beneath the trees. From the darkness now came a 
burst of savage cries only les-* appalling than the war 
whoop itself. In a moment the men of the village 
had rushed from the shadow of the trees into the 
broad, firelit space before us. Now they circled 
around us, now around the fire ; now each man danced 
and stamped and muttered to himself. For the most 
part they were painted red, but some were white from 
head to heel, — statues come to life, — while others 
had first oiled their bodies, then plastered them over 
with small bright-colored feathers. The tall head- 
dresses made giants of them all; as they leaped and 
danced in the glare of the fire they had a fiendish 
look. They sang, too, but the air was rude, and 
broken by dreadful cries. Out of a hut behind us 
burst two or three priests, the conjurer, and a score 
or more of old men. They had Indian drums upon 
which they beat furiously, and long pipes made of 
reeds which gave forth no uncertain sound. Fixed 
upon a pole and borne high above them was the image 
of their Okee, a hideous thing of stuffed skins and 
rattling chains of copper. When they had joined 
themselves to the throng in the firelight the clamor 
became deafening. Some one piled on more logs, and 
the place grew light as day. Opechancanough was 
not there, nor Nantauquas. 

Diccon and I watched that uncouth spectacle, that 
Virginian masque, as we had watched many another 
one, wdth disgust and weariness. It would last, we 
knew, for the better part of the night. It was in our 
honor, and for a while we must stay and testify our 
pleasure ; but after a time, when they had sung and 
danced themselves into oblivion of our presence, we 


might retire, and leave the very old men, the women, 
and the children sole spectators. We waited for that 
relief with impatience, though we showed it not to 
those who pressed about us. 

Time passed, and the noise deepened and the dan- 
cing became more frantic. The dancers struck at one 
another as they leaped and whirled, the sweat rolled 
from their bodies, and from their lips came hoarse, 
animal-like cries. The fire, ever freshly fed, roared 
and crackled, mocking the silent stars. The pines 
were bi-onze-red, the woods beyond a dead black. All 
noises of marsh and forest were lost in the scream of 
the pipes, the wild yelling, and the beating of the 

From the ranks of the women beneath the reddened 
pines rose shrill laughter and applause as they sat or 
knelt, bent forward, watching the dancers. One girl 
alone watched not them, but us. She stood somewhat 
back of her companions, one slim brown hand touch- 
ing the trunk of a tree, one brown foot advanced, her 
attitude that of one who waits but for a signal to be 
gone. Now and then she glanced impatiently at the 
wheeling figures, or at the old men and the few war- 
riors who took no part in the masque, but her eyes 
always came back to us. She had been among the 
maidens who danced before us earlier in the night ; 
when they rested beneath the trees she had gone away, 
and the night was much older when I marked her 
again, coming out of the firelit distance back to the 
fire and her dusky mates. It was soon after this that 
I became aware that she must have some reason for 
her anxious scrutiny, some message to deliver or warn- 
ing to give. Once when I made a slight motion as if 
to go to her, she shook her head and laid her finger 
upon her lips. 


A dancer fell from sheer exhaustion, another and 
another, and warriors from the dozen or more seated 
at our right began to take the places of the fallen. 
The priests shook their rattles, and made themselves 
dizzy with bending and whirling about their Okee ; 
the old men, too, though they sat like statues, thought 
only of the dance, and of how they themselves had 
excelled, long ago when they were young. 

I rose, and making my way to the werowance of the 
village where he sat with his eyes fixed upon a young 
Indian, his son, who bade fair to outlast all others in 
that wild contest, told him that I was wearied and 
would go to my hut, I and my servant, to rest for the 
few hours that yet remained of the night. He listened 
dreamily, his eyes upon the dancing Indian, but made 
offer to escort me thither. I pointed out to him that 
my quarters were not fifty yards away, in the broad 
firelight, in sight of them all, and that it were a pity 
to take him or any others from the contemplation of 
that whirling Indian, so strong and so brave that he 
would surely one day lead the war parties. 

After a moment he acquiesced, and Diccon and I, 
quietly and yet with some ostentation, so as to avoid 
all appearance of stealing away, left the press of sav- 
ages and began to cross the firelit turf between them 
and our lodge. When we had gone fifty paces I 
glanced over my shoulder and saw that the Indian 
maid no longer stood where we had last seen her, be- 
neath the pines. A little farther on we caught a 
glimpse of her winding in and out among a row of 
trees to our left. The trees ran past our lodge. When 
we had reached its entrance we paused and looked 
back to the throng we had left. Every back seemed 
turned to us, every eye intent upon the leaping figures 


around the great fire. Swiftly and quietly we walked 
across the bit of even ground to the friendly trees, 
and found ourselves in a thin strip of shadow between 
the light of the great fire we had left and that of a 
lesser one burning redly before the Emperor's lodge. 
Beneath the trees, waiting for us, was the Indian maid, 
with her light form, and large, shy eyes, and finger 
upon her lips. She would not speak or tarry, but 
flitted before us as dusk and noiseless as a moth, and 
we followed her into the darkness beyond the firelight, 
well-nigh to the line of sentinels. A wigwam, larger 
than common and shadowed by trees, rose in our path ; 
the girl, gliding in front of us, held aside the mats 
that curtained the entrance. We hesitated a moment, 
then stooped and entered the place. 



In the centre of the wigwam the customary fire 
burned clear and bright, showing the white mats, the 
dressed skins, the implements of war hanging upon 
the bark walls, — all the usual furniture of an Indian 
dwelling, — and showing also Nantauquas standing 
against the stripped trunk of a pine that pierced the 
wigwam from floor to roof. The fire was between us. 
He stood so rigid, at his full height, with folded arms 
and head held high, and his features were so blank 
and still, so forced and frozen, as it were, into com- 
posure, that, with the red light beating upon him 
and the thin smoke curling above his head, he had 
the look of a warrior tied to the stake. 

"Nantauquas ! " I exclaimed, and striding past the 
fire would have touched him but that with a slight 
and authoritative motion of the hand he kept me back. 
Otherwise there was no change in his position or in 
the dead calm of his face. 

The Indian maid had dropped the mat at the en- 
trance, and if she waited, waited without in the dark- 
ness. Diccon, now staring at the young chief, now 
eyeing the weapons upon the wall with all a lover's 
passion, kept near the doorway. Through the thick- 
ness of the bark and woven twigs the wild cries and 
singing came to us somewhat faintly ; beneath that 
distant noise could be heard the wind in the trees and 
the soft fall of the burning pine. 


" Well ! " I asked at last. " What is the matter, 
my friend?" 

For a full minute he made no answer, and when he 
did speak his voice matched his face. 

" My friend " he said, " I am going to show myself 
a friend indeed to the English, to the strangers who 
were not content with their own hunting grounds be- 
yond the great salt water. When I have done this, I 
do not know that Captain Percy will call me ' friend ' 

" You were wont to speak plainly, Nantauquas," I 
answered him. " I am not fond of riddles." 

Again he waited, as though he found speech diffi- 
cult. I stared at him in amazement, he was so 
changed in so short a time. 

He spoke at last : " When the dance is over, and 
the fires are low, and the sunrise is at hand, then will 
Opechancanough come to you to bid you farewell. 
He will give you the pearls that he wears about his 
neck for a present to the Governor, and a bracelet for 
yourself. Also he will give you three men for a guard 
through the forest. He has messages of love to send 
the white men, and he would send them by you who 
were his enemy and his captive. So all the white 
men shall believe in his love." 

" Well," I said dryly as he paused. " I will take 
his messages. What next ? " 

" Those are the words of Opechancanough. Now 
listen to the words of Nantauquas, the son of Wa- 
hunsonacock, a war chief of the Powhatans. There 
are two sharp knives there, hanging beneath the bow 
and the quiver and the shield. Take them and hide 

The words were scarcely out of his mouth before 


Diccon had the two keen English blades, i took the 
one he offered me, and hid it in my doublet. 

"So we go armed, Nantauquas," I said. "Love 
and peace and goodwill consort not with such toys." 

" You may want them," he went on, with no change 
in his low, measured tones. " If you see aught in the 
forest that you should not see, if they think you know 
more than you are meant to know, then those three, 
who have knives and tomahawks, are to kill you, whom 
they believe unarmed." 

" See aught that we should not see, know more than 
we are meant to know?" I said. "To the point, 

" They will go slowly, too, through the forest to 
Jamestown, stopping to eat and to sleep. For them 
there is no need to run like the stag with the hunter 
behind him." 

" Then we should make for Jamestown as for life," 
I said, " not sleeping or eating or making pause ? " 

" Yea," he replied, " if you would not die, you and 
all your people." 

In the silence of the hut the fire crackled, and the 
branches of the trees outside, bent by the wind, made 
a grating sound against the bark roof. 

" How die ? " I asked at last. " Speak out ! " 

" Die by the arrow and the tomahawk," he an- 
swered, — " yea, and by the guns you have given the 
red men. To-morrow's sun, and the next, and the 
next, — three suns, — and the tribes will fall upon 
the English. At the same hour, when the men are in 
the fields and the women and children are in the 
houses, they will strike, — Kecoughtans, Paspaheghs, 
Chickahominies, Pamunkeys, Arrowhatocks, Chesa- 
peakes, Nansemonds, Accomacs, — as one man will 


they strike ; and from where the Powhatan falls over 
the rocks to the salt water beyond Accomac, there will 
not be one white man left alive." 

He ceased to speak, and for a minute the fire made 
the only sound in the hut. Then, " All die ? " I 
asked dully. " There are three thousand Englishmen 
in Virginia." 

" They are scattered and unwarned. The fighting 
men of the villages of the Powhatan and the Pamunkey 
and the great bay are many, and they have sharpened 
their hatchets and filled their quivers with arrows." 

" Scattered," I said, " strewn broadcast up and 
down the river, — here a lonely house, there a cluster 
of two or three ; they at Jamestown and Henricus off 
guard, — the men in the fields or at the wharves, the 
women and the children busy within doors, all un- 
warned — O my God ! " 

Diccon strode over from the doorway to the fire. 
" We 'd best be going, I reckon, sir," he cried. " Or 
you wait until morning ; then there '11 be two chances. 
Now that I 've a knife, I 'm thinking I can give ac- 
count of one of them damned sentries, at least. Once 
clear of them " — 

I shook my head, and the Indian too made a gesture 
of dissent. " You would only be the first to die." 

I leaned against the side of the hut, for my heart 
beat like a frightened woman's. " Three days ! " I 
exclaimed. " If we go with all our speed we shall be 
in time. When did you learn this thing? " 

" While you watched the dance," he answered, 
" Opechancanough and I sat within his lodge in the 
darkness. His heart was moved, and he talked to me 
of his own youth in a strange country, south of the 
sunset, where he and his people dwelt in stone houses 


and worshiped a great and fierce god, giving him blood 
to drink and flesh to eat. To that country, too, white 
men had come in ships. Then he spoke to me of Pow- 
hatan, my father, — of how wise he was and how great 
a chief before the English came, and how the English 
made him kneel in sign that he held his lands from 
their King, and how he hated them ; and then he told 
me that the tribes had called me ' woman,' ' lover no 
longer of the warpath and the scalp dance,' but that 
he, who had no son, loved me as his son, knowing my 
heart to be Indian still; and then I heard what I 
have told you." 

" How long had this been planned ? " 

" For many moons. I have been a child, fooled 
and turned aside from the trail ; not wise enough to 
see it beneath the flowers, through the smoke of the 
peace pipes." 

« Why does Opechancanough send us back to the 
settlements?" I demanded. "Their faith in him 
needs no strengthening." 

" It is his fancy. Every hunter and trader and 
learner of our tongues, living in the villages or stray- 
ing in the woods, has been sent back to Jamestown or 
to his hundred with presents and with words that are 
sweeter than honey. He has told the three who go 
with you the hour in which you are to reach James- 
town ; he would have you as singing birds, telling lying 
tales to the Governor, with scarce the smoking of a 
pipe between those words of peace and the war whoop. 
But if those who go with you see reason to misdoubt 
you, they will kill you in the forest." 

His voice fell, and he stood in silence, straight as 
an arrow, against the post, the firelight playing over 
his dark limbs and sternly quiet face. Outside, the 


night wind, rising, began to howl through the naked 
branches, and a louder burst of yells came to us from 
the roisterers in the distance. The mat before the 
doorway shook, and a slim brown hand, slipped be- 
tween the wood and the woven grass, beckoned to us. 
"Why did you come?" demanded the Indian. 
" Long ago, when there were none but dark men from 
the Chesapeake to the hunting grounds beneath the 
sunset, we were happy. Why did you leave your own 
land, in the strange black ships with sails like the 
piled-up clouds of summer ? Was it not a good land ? 
Were not your forests broad and green, your fields 
fruitful, your rivers deep and filled with fish? And 
the towns I have heard of — were they not fair ? You 
are brave men : had you no enemies there, and no 
warpaths ? It was your home : a man should love the 
good earth over which he hunts, upon which stands 
his village. This is the red man's land. He wishes 

his hunting grounds, his maize fields, and his rivers 
for himself, his women and children. He has no 
ships in which to go to another country. When you 
first came we thought you were gods ; but you have 
not done like the great white God who, you say, loves 
you so. You are wiser and stronger than we, but 
your strength and wisdom help us not : they press us 
down from men to children ; they are weights upon 
the head and shoulders of a babe to keep him under 
stature. Ill gifts have you brought us, evil have you 
wrought us" — 

" Not to you, Nantauquas ! " I cried, stung into 

He turned his eyes upon me. " Nantauquas is the 
war chief of his tribe. Opechancanough is his king, 
and he lies upon his bed in his lodge and says within 


himself : ' My war chief, the Panther, the son of Wa- 
hunsonacock, who was chief of all the Powhatans, 
sits now within his wigwam, sharpening flints for his 
arrows, making his tomahawk bright and keen, think- 
ing of a day three suns hence, when the ti'ibes will 
shake off forever the hand upon their shoulder, — the 
hand so heavy and white that strives always to bend 
them to the earth and keep them there.' Tell me, 
you Englishman who have led in war, another name 
for Nantauquas, and ask no more what evil you have 
done him." 

" I will not call you ' traitor,' Nantauquas," I said, 
after a pause. " There is a difference. You are not 
the first child of Powhatan who has loved and shielded 
the white men." 

" She was a woman, a child," he answered. " Out 
of pity she saved your lives, not knowing that it was 
to the hurt of her people. Then you were few and 
weak, and could not take your revenge. Now, if you 
die not, you will drink deep of vengeance, — so deep 
that your lips may never leave the cup. More ships 
will come, and more ; you will grow ever stronger. 
There may come a moon when the deep forests and 
the shining rivers know us, to whom Kiwassa gave 
them, no more." He paused, with unmoved face, and 
eyes that seemed to pierce the wall and look out into 
unfathomable distances. " Go ! " he said at last. " If 
you die not in the woods, if you see again the man 
whom I called my brother and teacher, tell him . . . 
tell him nothing ! Go ! " 

" Come with us," urged Diccon gruffly. " We Eng- 
lish will make a place for you among us " — and got 
no further, for I turned upon him with a stern com- 
mand for silence. 


" I ask of you no such thing, Nantauquas," I said. 
" Come against us, if you will. Nobly warned, fair 
upon our guard, we will meet you as knightly foe 
should be met." 

He stood for a minute, the quick change that had 
come into his face at Diccon's blundering words gone, 
and his features sternly impassive again ; then, very 
slowly, he raised his arm from his side and held out 
his hand. His eyes met mine in sombre inquiry, half 
eager, half proudly doubtful. 

I went to him at once, and took his hand in mine. 
No word was spoken. Presently he withdrew his 
hand from my clasp, and, putting his finger to his lips, 
whistled low to the Indian girl. She drew aside the 
hanging mats, and we passed out, Diccon and I, leav- 
ing him standing as we had found him, upright 
against the post, in the red firelight. 

Should we ever go through the woods, pass through 
that gathering storm, reach Jamestown, warn them 
there of the death that was rushing upon them ? 
Should we ever leave that hated village ? Would the 
morning ever come ? When we reached our hut, un- 
seen, and sat down just within the doorway to watch 
for the dawn, it seemed as though the stars would 
never pale. Again and again the leaping Indians be- 
tween us and the fire fed the tall flame ; if one figure 
fell in the wild dancing, another took its place ; the 
yelling never ceased, nor the beatiDg of the drums. 

It was an alarum that was sounding, and there 
were only two to hear ; miles away beneath the mute 
stars English men and women lay asleep, with the 
hour thundering at their gates, and there was none to 
cry, " Awake ! " When would the dawn come, when 
should we be gone ? I could have cried out in that 


agony of waiting, with the leagues on leagues to be 
traveled, and the time so short ! If we never reached 
those sleepers — I saw the dark warriors gathering, 
tribe on tribe, war party on war party, thick crowd- 
ing shadows of death, slipping though the silent forest 
o . . and the clearings we had made and the houses 
we had built . . . the goodly Englishmen, Kent and 
Thorpe and Yeardley, Maddison, Wynne, Hamor, the 
men who had striven to win and hold this land so 
fatal and so fair, West and Rolfe and Jeremy Spar- 
row . . . the children about the doorsteps, the wo- 
men . . . one woman . . . 

It came to an end, as all things earthly will. The 
flames of the great bonfire sank lower and lower, and 
as they sank the gray light faltered into being, grew, 
and strengthened. At last the dancers were still, the 
women scattered, the priests with their hideous Okee 
gone. The wailing of the pipes died away, the drums 
ceased to beat, and the village lay in the keen wind 
and the pale light, inert and quiet with the stillness 
of exhaustion. 

The pause and hush did not last. When the ruffled 
pools amid the marshes were rosy beneath the sunrise, 
the women brought us food, and the warriors and old 
men gathered about us. They sat upon mats or 
billets of wood, and I offered them bread and meat, 
and told them they must come to Jamestown to taste 
of the white man's cookery. 

Scarcely was the meal over when Opechancanough 
issued from his lodge, with his picked men behind 
him, and, coming slowly up to us, took his seat upon 
the white mat that was spread for him. For a few 
minutes he sat in a silence that neither we nor his 
people cared to break. Only the wind sang in the 


brown branches, and from some forest brake came a 
stag's hoarse cry. As he sat in the sunshine he glis- 
tened all over, like an Ethiop besprent with silver ; for 
his dark limbs and mighty chest had been oiled, and 
then powdered with antimony. Through his scalp 
lock was stuck an eagle's feather ; across his face, 
from temple to chin, was a bar of red paint ; the eyes 
above were very bright and watchful, but we upon 
whom that scrutiny was bent were as little wont as 
he to let our faces tell our minds. 

One of his young men brought a great pipe, carved 
and painted, stem and bowl ; an old man filled it with 
tobacco, and a warrior lit it and bore it to the Em- 
peror. He put it to his lips and smoked in silence, 
while the sun climbed higher and higher, and the 
golden minutes that were more precious than heart's 
blood went by, at once too slow, too swift. 

At last, his part in the solemn mockery played, 
he held out the pipe to me. " The sky will fall, and 
the rivers run dry, and the birds cease to sing," he 
said, "before the smoke of the calumet fades from 
the land." 

I took the symbol of peace, and smoked it as 
silently and soberly — ay, and as slowly — as he had 
done before me, then laid it leisurely aside and held 
out my hand. " My eyes have been holden," I told 
him, " but now I see plainly the deep graves of the 
hatchets and the drifting of the peace smoke through 
the forest. Let Opechancanough come to Jamestown 
to smoke of the Englishman's uppowoc, and to receive 
rich presents, — a red robe like his brother Powha- 
tan's, and a cup from which he shall drink, he and all 
his people." 

He laid his dark fingers in mine for an instant, 


withdrew them, and, rising to his feet, motioned to 
three Indians who stood out from the throng of 
warriors. " These are Captain Percy's guides and 
friends," he announced. " The sun is high ; it is time 
that he was gone. Here are presents for him and for 
my brother the Governor." As he spoke, he took 
from his neck the rope of pearls and from his arm a 
copper bracelet, and laid both upon my palm. 

I thrust the pearls within my doublet, and slipped 
the bracelet upon my wrist. " Thanks, Opechanca- 
nough," I said briefly. " When we meet again I shall 
not greet you with empty thanks." 

By this all the folk of the village had gathered 
around us ; and now the drums beat again, and the 
maidens raised a wild and plaintive song of farewell. 
At a sign from the werowance men and women formed 
a rude procession, and followed us, who were to go 
upon a journey, to the edge of the village where the 
marsh began. Only the dark Emperor and the old 
men stayed behind, sitting and standing in the sun- 
shine, with the peace pipe lying on the grass at their 
feet, and the wind moving the branches overhead. I 
looked back and saw them thus, and wondered idly 
how many minutes they would wait before putting on 
the black paint. Of Nantauquas we had seen nothing. 
Either he had gone to the forest, or upon some pre- 
tense he kept within his lodge. 

We bade farewell to the noisy throng who had 
brought us upon our way, and went down to the 
river, where we found a canoe and rowers, crossed 
the stream, and, bidding the rowers good-by, entered 
the forest. It was Wednesday morning, and the sun 
was two hours high. Three suns, Nantauquas had 
said : on Friday, then, the blow would fall. Three 


days ! Once at Jamestown, it would take three days 
to warn each lonely scattered settlement, to put the 
colony into any posture of defense. What of the 
leagues of danger-haunted forest to be traversed be- 
fore even a single soul of the three thousand could 
be warned ? 

As for the three Indians, — who had their orders to 
go slowly, who at any suspicious haste or question or 
anxiety on our part were to kill us whom they deemed 
unarmed, — when they left their village that morning, 
they left it forever. There were times when Diccon 
and I had no need of speech, but knew each other's 
mind without ; so now, though no word had been 
spoken, we were agreed to set upon and slay our 
guides the first occasion that offered. 



The three Indians of whom we must rid ourselves 
were approved warriors, fierce as wolves, cunning as 
foxes, keen-eyed as hawks. They had no reason to 
doubt us, to dream that we would turn upon them, but 
from habit they watched us, with tomahawk and knife 
resting lightly in their belts. 

As for us, we walked slowly, smiled freely, and 
spoke frankly. The sunshine streaming down in the 
spaces where the trees fell away was not brighter than 
our mood. Had we not smoked the peace pipe ? 
Were we not on our way home ? Diccon, walking 
behind me, fell into a low- voiced conversation with the 
savage who strode beside him. It related to the bar- 
ter for a dozen otterskins of a gun which he had at 
Jamestown. The savage was to bring the skins to 
Paspahegh at his earliest convenience, and Diccon 
would meet him there and give him the gun, provided 
the pelts were to his liking. As they talked, each, in 
his mind's eye, saw the other dead before him. The 
one meant to possess a gun, indeed, but he thought to 
take it himself from the munition house at James- 
town ; the other knew that the otter which died not 
until this Indian's arrow quivered in its side would 
live until doomsday. Yet they discussed the matter 
gravely, hedging themselves about with provisos, and, 
the bargain clinched, walked on side by side in the 
silence of a perfect and all-comprehending amity. 


The sun rode higher and higher, gilding the misty 
green of the budding trees, quickening the red maple 
bloom into fierce scarlet, throwing lances of light down 
through the pine branches to splinter against the dark 
earth far below. For an hour it shone ; then clouds 
gathered and shut it from sight. The forest darkened, 
and the wind arose with a shriek. The young trees 
cowered before the blast, the strong and vigorous beat 
their branches together with a groaning sound, the 
old and worn fell crashing to the earth. Presently 
the rain rushed down, slant lines of silver tearing 
through the wood with the sound of the feet of an 
army ; hail followed, a torrent of ice beating and 
bruising all tender green things to the earth. The 
wind took the multitudinous sounds, — the cries of 
frightened birds, the creaking trees, the snap of break- 
ing boughs, the crash of falling giants, the rush of the 
rain, the drumming of the hail, — enwound them 
with itself, and made the forest like a great shell held 
close to the ear. 

There was no house to flee to ; so long as we could 
face the hail we staggered on, heads down, buffeting 
the wind ; but at last, the fury of the storm increas- 
ing, we were fain to throw ourselves upon the earth, in 
a little brake, where an overhanging bank somewhat 
broke the wind. A mighty oak, swaying and groaning 
above us, might fall and crush us like eggshells ; but 
if we went on, the like fate might meet us in the way. 
Broken and withered limbs, driven by the wind, went 
past us like crooked shadows ; it grew darker and 
darker, and the air was deadly cold. 

The three Indians pressed their faces against the 
ground ; they dreamed not of harm from us, but Okee 
was in the merciless hail and the first thunder of the 


year, now pealing through the wood. Suddenly Die- 
con raised himself upon his elbow, and looked across 
at me. Our eyes had no sooner met than his hand 
was at his bosom. The savage nearest him, feeling 
the movement, as it were, lifted his head from the 
earth, of which it was so soon to become a part ; but 
if he saw the knife, he saw it too late. The blade, 
driven down with all the strength of a desperate man, 
struck home ; when it was drawn from its sheath of 
flesh, there remained to us but a foe apiece. 

In the instant of its descent I had thrown myself 
upon the Indian nearest me. It was not a time for 
overniceness. If I could have done so, I would have 
struck him in the back while he thought no harm ; as 
it was, some subtle instinct warning him, he whirled 
himself over in time to strike up my hand and to 
clench with me. He was very strong, and his naked 
body, wet with rain, slipped like a snake from my 
hold. Over and over we rolled on the rain-soaked 
moss and rotted leaves and cold black earth, the hail 

(blinding us, and the wind shrieking like a thou sand 
watch ing demons. He strove to reach the knife 
within Iris belt ; I, to prevent him, and to strike deep 
with the knife I yet held. 

At last I did so. Blood gushed over my hand and 
wrist, the clutch upon my arm relaxed, the head fell 
back. The dying eyes glared into mine ; then the 
lids shut forever upon that unquenchable hatred. I 
staggered to my feet and turned, to find that Diccon 
had given account of the third Indian. 

We stood up in the hail and the wind, and looked 
at the dead men at our feet. Then, without speaking, 
we went our way through the tossing forest, with the 
hailstones coming thick against us, and the wind a 


strong hand to push us back. When we came to a 
little trickling spring, we knelt and washed our hands. 

The hail ceased, but the rain fell and the wind blew 
throughout the morning. We made what speed we 
could over the boggy earth against the storm, but we 
knew that we were measuring miles where we should 
have measured leagues. There was no breath to waste 
in words, and thought was a burden quite intolerable ; 
it was enough to stumble on through the partial light, 
with a mind as gray and blank as the rain-blurred 

At noon the clouds broke, and an hour later the 
sunshine was streaming down from a cloudless heaven, 
beneath which the forest lay clear before us, naught 
stirring save shy sylvan creatures to whom it mattered 
not if red man or white held the land. 

Side by side Diccon and I hurried on, not speaking, 
keeping eye and ear open, proposing with all our will 
to reach the goal we had set, and to reach it in time, 
let what might oppose. It was but another forced 
march ; many had we made in our time, through dan- 
gers manifold, and had lived to tell the tale. 

There was no leisure in which to play the Indian 
and cover up our footprints as we made them, but 
when we came to a brook we stepped into the cold, 
swift-flowing water, and kept it company for a while. 
The brook flowed between willows, thickly set, already 
green, and overarching a yard or more of water. 
Presently it bent sharply, and we turned with it. 
Ten yards in front of us the growth of willows ceased 
abruptly, the low, steep banks shelved downwards to 
a grassy level, and the stream widened into a clear 
and placid pool, as blue as the sky above. Crouched 
upon the grass or standing in the shallow water were 


some fifteen or twenty deer. We had come upon 
them without noise ; the wind blew from them to us, 
and the willows hid us from their sight. There was 
no air rm, and we stood a moment watching them be- 
fore we should throw a stone or branch into their 
midst and scare them from our path. 

Suddenly, as we looked, the leader threw up his 
head, made a spring, and was off like a dart, across 
the stream and into the depths of the forest beyond. 
The herd followed. A moment, and there were only 
the trodden grass and the troubled waters ; no other 
sign that aught living had passed that way. 

" Now what was that for ? " muttered Diccon. 
" I 'm thinking we had best not take to the open 
just yet." 

For answer I parted the willows, and forced myself 
into the covert, pressing as closely as possible against 
the bank, and motioning him to do the same. He 
obeyed, and the thick-clustering gold-green twigs 
swung into place again, shutting us in with the black 
water and the leafy, crumbling bank. From that 
green dimness we could look out upon the pool and the 
grass, with small fear that we ourselves would be seen. 

Out of the shadow of the trees into the grassy space 
stepped an Indian ; a second followed, a third, a 
fourth, — one by one they came from the gloom into 
the sunlight, until we had counted a score or more. 
They made no pause, a glance telling them to what 
were due the trampled grass and the muddied water. 
As they crossed the stream one stooped and drank from 
his hand, but they said no word and made no noise. 
All were painted black ; a few had face and chest 
striped with yellow. Their headdresses were tall and 
wonderful, their leggings and moccasins fringed with 


scalp locks ; their hatchets glinted in the sunshine, 
and their quivers were stuck full of arrows. One by 
one they glided from the stream into the thick woods 
beyond. We waited until we knew that they were 
deep in the forest, then crept from the willows and 
went our way. 

" They were Youghtenunds," I said, in the low tones 
we used when we spoke at all, " and they went to the 

" We may thank our stars that they missed our 
trail," Diccon answered. 

We spoke no more, but, leaving the stream, struck 
again toward the south. The day wore on, and still 
we went without pause. Sun and shade and keen 
wind, long stretches of pine and open glades where we 
quickened our pace to a run, dense woods, snares of 
leafless vines, swamp and thicket through which we 
toiled so slowly that the heart bled at the delay, 
streams and fallen trees, — on and on we hurried, 
until the sun sank and the dusk came creeping in 
upon us. 

" We 've dined with Duke Humphrey to-day," said 
Diccon at last ; " but if we can keep this pace, and 
don't meet any more war parties, or fall foul of an In- 
dian village, or have to fight the wolves to-night, we '11 
dine with the Governor to-morrow. What 's that ? " 

" That " was the report of a musket, and a spent 
ball had struck me above the knee, bruising the flesh 
beneath the leather of my boot. 

We wheeled, and looked in the direction whence 
had come that unwelcome visitor. There was naught 
to be seen. It was dusk in the distance, and there 
were thickets too, and fallen logs. Where that am- 
buscade was planted, if one or twenty Indians lurked 


in the dusk behind the trees, or lay on the further 
side of those logs, or crouched within a thicket, no 
mortal man could tell. 

" It was a spent ball," I said. " Our best hope is 
in our heels." 

" There are pines beyond, and smooth going," he 
answered ; " but if ever I thought to run from an 
Indian ! " 

Without more ado we started. If we could outstrip 
that marksman, if we could even hold our distance 
until night had fallen, all might yet be well. A little 
longer, and even an Indian must fire at random ; 
moreover, we might reach some stream and manage 
to break our trail. The ground was smooth before 
us, — too smooth, and slippery with pine needles ; the 
pines themselves stood in grim brown rows, and we 
ran between them lightly and easily, husbanding our 
strength. Now and again one or the other looked 
behind, but we saw only the pines and the gathering 
dusk. Hope was strengthening in us, when a second 
bullet dug into the earth just beyond us. 

Diccon swore beneath his breath. " It struck deep," 
he muttered. " The dark is slow in coming." 

A minute later, as I ran with my head over my 
shoulder, I saw our pursuer, dimly, like a deeper 
shadow in the shadows far down the arcade behind us. 
There was but one man, — a tall warrior, strayed 
aside from his band, perhaps, or bound upon a war- 
path of his own. The musket that he carried some 
English fool had sold him for a mess of pottage. 

Putting forth all our strength, we ran for our lives, 
and for the lives of many others. Before us the pine 
wood sloped down to a deep and wide thicket, and 
beyond the thicket a line of sycamores promised water. 


If we could reach the thicket, its close embrace would 
hide us, — then the darkness and the stream. A third 
shot, and Diccon staggered slightly. 

" For God's sake, not struck, man ? " I cried. 

" It grazed my arm," he panted. " No harm done. 
Here 's the thicket ! " 

Into the dense growth we broke, reckless of the 
blood which the sharp twigs drew from face and hands. 
The twigs met in a thick roof over our heads • that 
was all we cared for, and through the network we saw 
one of the larger stars brighten into being. The 
thicket was many yards across. When we had gone 
thirty feet down we crouched and waited for the dark. 
If our enemy followed us, he must do so at his peril, 
with only his knife for dependence. 

One by one the stars swam into sight, until the 
square of sky above us was thickly studded. There 
was no sound, and no living thing could have entered 
that thicket without noise. For what seemed an eter- 
nity, we waited ; then we rose and broke our way 
through the bushes to the sycamores, to find that they 
indeed shadowed a little sluggish stream. 

Down this we waded for some distance before taking 
to dry earth again. Since entering the thicket we 
had seen and heard nothing suspicious, and were now 
fain to conclude that the dark warrior had wearied of 
the chase, and was gone on his way toward his mates 
and that larger and surer quarry which two suns would 
bring. Certain it is that we saw no more of him. 

The stream flowing to the south, we went with it, 
hurrying along its bank, beneath the shadow of great 
trees, with the stars gleaming down through the 
branches. It was cold and still, and far in the dis- 
tance we heard wolves hunting. As for me, I felt no 


weariness. Every sense was sharpened ; my feet were 
light ; the keen air was like wine in the drinking ; 
there was a star low in the south that shone and beck- 
oned. The leagues between my wife and me were f ew. 
I saw her standing beneath the star, with a little purple 
flower in her hand. 

Suddenly, a bend in the stream hiding the star, I 
became aware that Diccon was no longer keeping step 
with me, but had fallen somewhat to the rear. I 
turned, and he was leaning heavily, with drooping 
head, against the trunk of a tree. 

"Art so worn as that?" I exclaimed. "Put more 
heart into thy heels, man ! " 

He straightened himself and strode on beside me. 
" I don't know what came over me for a minute," he 
answered. " The wolves are loud to-night. I hope 
they '11 keep to their side of the water." 

A stone's throw farther on, the stream curving to 
the west, we left it, and found ourselves in a sparsely 
wooded glade, with a bare and sandy soil beneath our 
feet, and above, in the western sky, a crescent moon. 
Again Diccon lagged behind, and presently I heard 
him groan in the darkness. 

I wheeled. " Diccon ! " I cried. " What is the 
matter ? " 

Before I could reach him he had sunk to his knees. 
When I put my hand upon his arm and again de- 
manded what ailed him, he tried to laugh, then tried 
to swear, and ended with another groan. " The ball 
did graze my arm," he said, " but it went on into nry 
side. I '11 just lie here and die, and wish you well at 
Jamestown. When the red imps come against you 
there, and you open fire on them, name a bullet for 



I laid him down upon the earth, and, cutting away 
his doublet and the shirt beneath, saw the wound, and 
knew that there was a journey indeed that he would 
shortly make. " The world is turning round," he 
muttered, " and the stars are falling thicker than the 
hailstones yesterday. Go on, and I will stay behind, 
— I and the wolves." 

I took him in my arms and carried him back to the 
bank of the stream, for I knew that he would want 
water until he died. My head was bare, but he had 
worn his cap from the gaol at Jamestown that night. 
I filled it with water and gave him to drink; then 
washed the wound and did what I could to stanch the 
bleeding. He turned from side to side, and presently 
his mind began to wander, and he talked of the to- 
bacco in the fields at Weyanoke. Soon he was raving 
of old things, old camp fires and night-time marches 
and wild skirmishes, perils by land and by sea ; then 
of dice and wine and women. Once he cried out that 
Dale had bound him upon the wheel, and that his arms 
and legs were broken, and the woods rang to his 
screams. Why, in that wakeful forest, they were 
unheard, or why, if heard, they went unheeded, God 
only knows. 

The moon went down, and it was very cold. How 
black were the shadows around us, what foes might 


steal from that darkness upon us, it was not worth 
while to consider. I do not know what I thought of 
on that night, or even that I thought at all. Between 
my journeys for the water that he called for I sat 
beside the dying man with my hand upon his breast, 
for he was quieter so. Now and then I spoke to him, 
but he answered not. 

Hours before we had heard the howling of wolves, 
and knew that some ravenous pack was abroad. With 
the setting of the moon the noise had ceased, and I 
thought that the brutes had pulled down the deer they 
hunted, or else had gone with their hunger and their 
dismal voices out of earshot. Suddenly the howling 
recommenced, at first faint and far away, then nearer 
and nearer yet. Earlier in the evening the stream 
had been between us, but now the wolves had crossed 
and were coming down our side of the water, and 
were coming fast. 

All the ground was strewn with dead wood, and 
near by was a growth of low and brittle bushes. I 
gathered the withered branches, and broke fagots from 
the bushes ; then into the press of dark and stealthy 
forms I threw a great crooked stick, shouting as 1 
did so, and threatening with my arms. They turned 
and fled, but presently they were back again. Again 
I frightened them away, and again they returned. I 
had flint and steel and tinder box ; when I had scared 
them from us a third time, and they had gone only a 
little way, I lit a splinter of pine, and with it fired 
my heap of wood ; then dragged Diccon into the light 
and sat down beside him, with no longer any fear of 
the wolves, but with absolute confidence in the quick 
appearance of less cowardly foes. There was wood 
enough and to spare ; when the fire sank low and the 


hungry eyes gleamed nearer, I fed it again, and the 
flame leaped up and mocked the eyes. 

No human enemy came upon us. The fire blazed 
and roared, and the man who lay in its rosy glare 
raved on, crying out now and then at the top of his 
voice ; but on that night of all nights, of all years, 
light and voice drew no savage band to put out the one 
and silence the other forever. 

Hours passed, and as it drew toward midnight Die- 
con sank into a stupor. I knew that the end was 
not far away. The wolves were gone at last, and my 
fire was dying down. He needed my touch upon his 
breast no longer, and I went to the stream and bathed 
my hands and forehead, and then threw myself face 
downward upon the bank. In a little while the deso- 
late murmur of the water became intolerable, and I 
rose and went back to the fire, and to the man whom, 
as God lives, I loved as a brother. 

He was conscious. Pale and cold and nigh gone 
as he was, there came a light to his eyes and a smile 
to his lips when I knelt beside him. " You did not 
go ? " he breathed. 

" No," I answered, " I did not go." 

For a few minutes he lay with closed eyes ; when he 
again opened them upon my face, there were in their 
depths a question and an appeal. I bent over him, 
and asked him what he would have. 

" You know," he whispered. " If you can ... I 
would not go without it." 

" Is it that ? " I asked. " I forgave you long ago." 

" I meant to kill you. I was mad because you 
struck me before the lady, and because I had betrayed 
my trust. An you had not caught my hand, I should 
be your murderer." He spoke with long intervals 


between the words, and the death dew was on his fore- 

" Semember it not, Diccon," I entreated. " I too 
was to blame. And I see not that night for other 
nights, — for other nights and days, Diccon." 

He smiled, but there was still in his face a shadowy 
eagerness. " You said you would never strike me 
again," he went on, "and that I was man of yours no 
more forever — and you gave me my freedom in the 
paper which I tore." He spoke in gasps, with his 
eyes upon mine. " I '11 be gone in a few minutes now. 
If I might go as your man still, and could tell the 
Lord Jesus Christ that my master on earth forgave, 
and took back, it would be a hand in the dark. I 
have spent my life in gathering darkness for myself at 
the last." 

I bent lower over him, and took his hand in mine. 
" Diccon, my man," I said. 

A brightness came into his face, and he faintly 
pressed my hand. I slipped my arm beneath him and 
raised him a little higher to meet bis death. He was 
smiling now, and his mind was not quite clear. " Do 
you mind, sir," he asked, " how green and strong and 
sweet smelled the pines that May day, when we found 
Virginia, so many years ago ? " 

"Ay, Diccon," I answered. "Before we saw the 
land, the fragance told us we were near it." 

" I smell it now," he went on, " and the bloom of 
the grape, and the May-time flowers. And can you 
not hear, sir, the whistling and the laughter and the 
sound of the falling trees, that merry time when Smith 
made axemen of all our fine gentlemen ? " 

"Ay, Diccon," I said. "And the sound of the 
water that was dashed down the sleeve of any that 
were caught in an oath." 


He laughed like a little child. " It is well that I 
was n't a gentleman, and had not those trees to fell, 
or I should have been as wet as any merman. . . . 
And Pocahontas, the little maid . . . and how blue 
the sky was, and how glad we were what time the 
Patience and Deliverance came in ! " 

His voice failed, and for a minute I thought he 
was gone ; but he had been a strong man, and life 
slipped not easily from him. When his eyes opened 
again he knew me not, but thought he was in some 
tavern, and struck with his hand upon the ground as 
upon a table, and called for the drawer. 

Around him were only the stillness and the shadows 
of the night, but to his vision men sat and drank 
with him, diced and swore and told wild tales of this 
or that. For a time he talked loudly and at random 
of the vile quality of the drink, and his viler luck at 
the dice ; then he began to tell a story. As he told 
it, his senses seemed to steady, and he spoke with 
coherence and like a shadow of himself. 

" And you call that a great thing, William Host ? " 
he demanded. " I can tell a true tale worth two 
such lies, my masters. (Robin tapster, more ale ! 
And move less like a slug, or my tankard and your 
ear will cry, ' Well met ! ') It was between Ypres 
and Courtrai, friends, and it 's nigh fifteen years ago. 
There were fields in which nothing was sowed because 
they were ploughed with the hoofs of war horses, and 
ditches in which dead men were thrown, and dismal 
marshes, and roads that were no roads at all, but only 
sloughs. And there was a great stone house, old and 
ruinous, with tall poplars shivering in the rain and 
mist. Into this house there threw themselves a band 
of Dutch and English, and hard on their heels came 


two hundred Spaniards. All day they besieged that 
house, — smoke and flame and thunder and shouting 
and the crash of masonry, — and when eventide was 
come we, the Dutch and the English, thought that 
Death was not an hour behind." 

He paused, and made a gesture of raising a tankard 
to his lips. His eyes were bright, his voice was firm. 
The memory of that old day and its mortal strife had 
wrought upon him like wine. 

" There was one amongst us," he said, " he was 
our captain, and it 's of him I am going to tell the 
story. Robin tapster, bring me no more ale, but good 
mulled wine ! It 's cold and getting dark, and I have 
to drink to a brave man besides " — 

With the old bold laugh in his eyes, he raised him- 
self, for the moment as strong as I that held him. 
" Drink to that Englishman, all of ye ! " he cried, 
" and not in filthy ale, but in good, gentlemanly sack ! 
I '11 pay the score. Here 's to him, brave hearts ! 
Here 's to my master ! " 

With his hand at his mouth, and his story untold, 
he fell back. I held him in my arms until the brief 
struggle was over, and then laid his body down upon 
the earth. 

It might have been one of the clock. For a little 
while I sat beside him, with my head bowed in my 
hands. Then I straightened his limbs and crossed his 
hands upon his breast, and kissed him upon the brow, 
and left him lying dead in the forest. 

It was hard going through the blackness of the 
night-time woods. Once I was nigh sucked under in 
a great swamp, and once I stumbled into some hole or 
pit in the earth, and for a time thought that I had 
broken my leg. The night was very dark, and some- 


times when I could not see the stars, I lost my way, 
and went to the right or the left, or even back upon 
my track. Though I heard the wolves, they did not 
come nigh me. Just before daybreak, I crouched 
behind a log, and watched a party of savages file past 
like shadows of the night. 

At last the dawn came, and I could press on more 
rapidly. For two days and two nights I had not 
slept ; for a day and a night I had not tasted food. 
As the sun climbed the heavens, a thousand black 
spots, like summer gnats, danced between his face 
and my weary eyes. The forest laid stumbling-blocks 
before me, and drove me back, and made me wind in 
and out when I would have had my path straighter 
than an arrow. When the ground allowed I ran; 
when I must break my way, panting, through under- 
growth so dense and stubborn that it seemed some 
enchanted thicket, where each twig snapped but to be 
on the instant stiff in place again, I broke it with what 
patience I might ; when I must turn aside for this 
or that obstacle I made the detour, though my heart 
cried out at the necessity. Once I saw reason to 
believe that two or more Indians were upon my trail, 
and lost time in outwitting them ; and once I must 
go a mile out of my way to avoid an Indian village. 

As the day wore on, I began to go as in a dream. 
It had come to seem the gigantic wood of some fan- 
tastic tale through which I was traveling. The fallen 
trees ranged themselves into an abatis hard to sur- 
mount ; the thickets withstood one like' iron; the 
streamlets were like rivers, the marshes leagues wide, 
the treetops miles away. Little things, twisted roots, 
trailing vines, dead and rotten wood, made me stum- 
ble. A wind was blowing that had blown just so 


since time began, and the forest was filled with the 
sound of the sea. 

Afternoon came, and the shadows began to lengthen. 
They were lines of black paint spilt in a thousand 
places, and stealing swiftly and surely across the 
brightness of the land. Torn and bleeding and 
breathless, 1 hastened on ; for it was drawing toward 
night, and I should have been at Jamestown hours 
before. My head pained me, and as I ran I saw men 
and women stealing in and out among the trees 
before me : Pocahontas with her wistful eyes and 
braided hair and finger on her lips ; Nantauquas ; 
Dale, the knight-marshal, and Argall with his fierce, 
unscrupulous face ; my cousin George Percy, and my 
mother with her stately figure, her embroidery in her 
hands. I knew that they were but phantoms of my 
brain, but their presence confused and troubled me. 

The shadows ran together, and the sunshine died 
out of the forest. Stumbling on, I saw through the 
thinning trees a long gleam of red, and thought it 
was blood, but presently knew that it was the river, 
crimson from the sunset. A minute more and I stood 
upon the shore of the mighty stream, between the 
two brightnesses of flood and heavens. There was a 
silver crescent in the sky with one white star above 
it, and fair in sight, down the James, with lights 
springing up through the twilight, was the town, — 
the English town that we had built and named for 
our King, and had held in the teeth of Spain, in the 
teeth of the wilderness and its terrors. It was not 
a mile away ; a little longer, — a little longer and I 
could rest, with my tidings told. 

The dusk had quite fallen when I reached the neck 
of land. The hut to which I had been enticed that 


night stood dark and ghastly, with its door swinging 
in the wind. I ran past it and across the neck, and, 
arriving at the palisade, beat upon the gate with my 
hands, and called to the warder to open. When I had 
told him my name and tidings, he did so, with shaking 
knees and starting eyes. Cautioning him to raise no 
alarm in the town, I hurried by him into the street, 
and down it toward the house that was set aside for 
tlie Governor of Virginia. I should find there now, 
not Yeardley, but Sir Francis Wyatt. 

The torches were lighted, and the folk were indoors, 
for the night was cold. One or two figures that I 
met or passed would have accosted me, not knowing 
who I was, but I brushed by them, and hastened on. 
Only when I passed the guest house I looked up, and 
saw that mine host's chief rooms were yet in use. 

The Governor's door was open, and in the hall 
servingmen were moving to and fro. When I came 
in upon them, they cried out as it had been a ghost, 
and one fellow let a silver dish that he carried fall 
clattering to the floor. They shook and stood back, 
as I passed them without a word, and went on to the 
Governor's great room. The door was ajar, and I 
pushed it open and stood for a minute upon the thresh- 
old, unobserved by the occupants of the room. 

After the darkness outside the lights dazzled me; 
the room, too, seemed crowded with men, though when 
I counted them there were not so many, after all. 
Supper had been put upon the table, but they were not 
eating. Before the fire, his head thoughtfully bent, 
and his fingers tapping upon the arm of his chair, 
sat the Governor ; over against him, and as serious of 
aspect, was the Treasurer. West stood by the mantel, 
tugging at his long mustaches and softly swearing. 


Clayborne was in the room, Piersey the Cape Mer- 
chant, and one or two besides. And Rolfe was there, 
walking up and down with hasty steps, and a flushed 
and haggard face. His suit of buff was torn and 
stained, and his great-boots were spattered with mud. 

The Governor let his fingers rest upon the arm of 
his chair, and raised his head. 

" He is dead, Master Rolfe," he said. " There can 
be no other conclusion, — a brave man lost to you and 
to the colony. We mourn with you, sir." 

" We too have searched, Jack," put in West. " We 
have not been idle, though well-nigh all men believe 
that the Indians, who we know had a grudge against 
him, murdered him and his man that night, then threw 
their bodies into the river, and themselves made off 
out of our reach. But we hoped against hope that 
when your party returned he would be in your midst." 

" As for this latest loss," continued the Governor, 
"within an hour of its discover}^ this morning search 
parties were out ; yea, if I had allowed it, the whole 
town would have betaken itself to the woods. The 
searchers have not returned, and we are gravely 
anxious. Yet we are not utterly cast down. This trail 
can hardly be missed, and the Indians are friendly. 
There were a number in town overnight, and they 
went with the searchers, volunteering to act as their 
guides. We cannot but think that of this load, our 
hearts will soon be eased." 

" God grant it ! " groaned Rolfe. " I will drink 
but a cup of wine, sir, and then will be gone upon this 
new quest." 

There was a movement in the room. " You are 
worn and spent with your fruitless travel, sir," said 
the Governor kindly. " I give you my word that all 


that can be done is doing. Wait at least for the 
morning, and the good news it may bring." 

The other shook his head. " I will go now. I 
could not look my friend in the face else — God in 
heaven ! " 

The Governor sprang to his feet ; through the 
Treasurer's lips came a long, sighing breath ; West's 
dark face was ashen. I came forward to the table, 
and leaned my weight upon it ; for all the waves of 
the sea were roaring in my ears, and the lights were 
going up and down. 

" Are you man or spirit ? " cried Rolfe through 
white lips. " Are you Ralph Percy ? " 

" Yes, I am Percy," I said. " I have not well 
understood what quest you would go upon, Rolfe, 
but you cannot go to-night. And those parties that 
your Honor talked of, that have gone with Indians to 
guide them to look for some lost person, — I think 
that you will never see them again." 

With an effort I drew myself erect, and standing so 
told my tidings, quietly and with circumstance, so as 
to leave no room for doubt as to their verity, or as to 
the sanity of him who brought them. They listened, 
as the warder had listened, with shaking limbs and 
gasping breath ; for this was the fall and wiping out 
of a people of which I brought warning. 

When all was told, and they stood there before me, 
white and shaken, seeking in their minds the thing to 
say or do first, I thought to ask a question myself ; 
but before my tongue could frame it, the roaring of 
the sea became so loud that I could hear naught else, 
and the lights all ran together into a wheel of fire. 
Then in a moment all sounds ceased, and to the lights 
succeeded the blackness of outer darkness. 



When I awoke from the sleep or stupor into which 
I must have passed from that swoou, it was to find 
myself lying upon a bed in a room flooded with sun- 
shine. I was alone. For a moment I lay still, staring 
at the blue sky without the window, and wondering 
where I was and how I came there. A drum beat, 
a dog barked, and a man's quick voice gave a com- 
mand. The sounds stung me into remembrance, and 
I was at the window while the voice was yet speaking. 

It was West in the street below, pointing with his 
sword now to the fort, now to the palisade, and giving 
directions to the armed men about him. There were 
many people in the street. Women hurried by to the 
fort with white, scared faces, their arms filled with 
household gear ; children ran beside them, sturdily 
bearing their share of the goods, but pressing close to 
their elders' skirts ; men went to and fro, the most 
grimly silent, but a few talking loudly. Not all of 
the faces in the crowd belonged to the town : there 
were Kingsmell and his wife from the main, and John 
Ellison from Archer's Hope, and the Italians Vincen- 
cio and Bernardo from the Glass House. The nearer 
plantations, then, had been warned, and their people 
had come for refuge to the city. A negro passed, but 
on that morning, alone of many days, no Indian aired 
his paint and feathers in the white man's village. 


I cotild not see the palisade across the neck, but I 
knew that it was there that the fight — if fight there 
were — would be made. Should the Indians take the 
palisade, there would yet be the houses of the town, 
and, last of all, the fort in which to make a stand. I 
believed not that they would take it. Long since we 
had found out their method of warfare. They used 
ambuscade, surprise, and massacre ; when withstood 
in force and with determination they withdrew to 
their stronghold the forest, there to bide their time 
until, in the blackness of some night, they could again 
swoop down upon a sleeping foe. 

The drum beat again, and a messenger from the 
palisade came down the street at a run. " They 're in 
the woods over against us, thicker than ants ! " he 
cried to West as he passed. " A boat has just drifted 
ashore yonder, with two men in it, dead and scalped ! " 

I turned to leave the room, and ran against Master 
Pory coming in on tiptoe, with a red and solemn face. 
He started when he saw me. 

" The roll of the drum brought you to your feet, 
then ! " he cried. " You 've lain like the dead all 
night. I came but to see if you were breathing." 

" When I have eaten, I shall be myself again," I 
said. " There 's no attack as yet ? " 

" No," he answered. " They must know that we 
are prepared. But they have kindled fires along the 
river bank, and we can hear them yelling. Whether 
they '11 be mad enough to come against us remains to 
be seen." 

" The nearest settlements have been warned ? " 

" Ay. The Governor offered a thousand pounds of 
tobacco and the perpetual esteem of the Company to 
the man or men who would carry the news. Six vol- 


unteered, and went off in boats, three up river, three 
down. How many they reached, or if they still have 
their scalps, we know not. And awhile ago, just be- 
fore daybreak, comes with frantic haste Richard Pace, 
who had rowed up from Pace's Pains to tell the news 
which you had already brought. Chanco the Chris- 
tian had betrayed the plot to him, and he managed to 
give warning at Powel's and one or two other places 
as he came up the river." 

He broke off, but when I would have spoken inter- 
rupted me with : " And so you were on the Pamunkey 
all this while ! Then the Paspaheghs fooled us with 
the simple truth, for they swore so stoutly that their 
absent chief men were but gone on a hunt toward the 
Pamunkey that we had no choice but to believe them 
gone in quite another direction. And one and all of 
every tribe we questioned swore that Opechancanough 
was at Orapax. So Master Rolfe puts off up river to 
find, if not you, then the Emperor, and make him 
give up your murderers ; and the Governor sends a 
party along the bay, and West another up the Chick- 
ahominy. And there you were, all the time, mewed 
up in the village above the marshes ! And Nantau- 
quas, after saving our lives like one of us, is turned 
Indian again ! And your man is killed ! Alackaday ! 
there 's naught but trouble in the world. ' As the 
sparks fly upwards,' you know. But a brave man 
draws his breath and sets his teeth." 

In his manner, his rapid talk, his uneasy glances 
toward the door, I found something forced and strange. 
" I thought Rolfe was behind me," he said, " but he 
must have been delayed. There are meat and drink 
set out in the great room, where the Governor and 
those of the Council who are safe here with us are 


advising together. Let 's descend ; you 've not eaten, 
and the good sack will give you strength. Wilt 
come ? " 

" Ay," I answered, " but tell me the news as we go. 
I have been gone ten days, — faith, it seems ten years ! 
There have no ships sai]ed, Master Pory ? The George 
is still here ? " I looked him full in the eye, for a 
sudden guess at a possible reason for his confusion 
had stabbed me like a knife. 

" Ay," he said, with a readiness that could scarce 
be feigned. " She was to have sailed this week, it is 
true, the Governor fearing to keep her longer. But 
the Esperance, coming in yesterday, brought news 
which removed his Honor's scruples. Now she '11 wait 
to see out this hand at the cards, and to take home 
the names of those who are left alive in Virginia. 
If the red varlets do swarm in upon us, there are 
her twelve-pounders ; they and the fort guns " — 

I let him talk on. The George had not sailed. I 
saw again a firelit hut, and a man and a panther who 
went down together. Those claws had dug deep ; the 
man across whose face they had torn their way would 
keep his room in the guest house at Jamestown until 
his wounds were somewhat healed. The George would 
wait for him, would scarcely dare to sail without him, 
and I should find the lady whom she was to carry 
away to England in Virginia still. It was this that I 
had built upon, the grain of comfort, the passionate 
hope, the sustaining cordial, of those year-long days 
in the village above the Pamunkey. 

My heart was sore because of Diccon ; but I could 
speak of that grief to her, and she would grieve with 
me. There were awe and dread and stern sorrow in 
the knowledge that even now in the bright spring 


morning blood from a hundred homes might be flow- 
ing to meet the shining, careless river ; but it was the 
springtime, and she was waiting for me. I strode on 
toward the stairway so fast that when I asked a ques- 
tion Master Pory, at my side, was too out of breath 
to answer it. Halfway down the stairs I asked it 
again, and again received no answer save a " Zooks ! 
you go too fart for my years and having in flesh ! 
Go more slowly, Ralph Percy ; there 's time enough, 
there 's time enough ! " 

There was a tone in his voice that I liked not, for 
it savored of pity. I looked at him with knitted 
brows ; but we were now in the hall, and through 
the open door of the great room I caught a glimpse 
of a woman's skirt. There were men in the hall, ser- 
vants and messengers, who made way for us, staring 
at me as they did so, and whispering. I knew that 
my clothing was torn and muddied and stained with 
blood ; as we paused at the door there came to me 
in a flash that day in the courting meadow when I 
had tried with my dagger to scrape the dried mud 
from my boots. I laughed at myself for caring now, 
and for thinking that she would care that I was not 
dressed for a lady's bower. The next moment we 
were in the great room. 

She was not there. The silken skirt that I had 
seen, and — there being but one woman in all the 
world for me — had taken for hers, belonged to Lady 
Wyatt, who, pale and terrified, was sitting with 
clasped hands, mutely following with her eyes her 
husband as he walked to and fro. West had come in 
from the street and was making some report. Around 
the table were gathered two or three of the Council ; 
Master Sandys stood at a window, Rolfe beside Lady 


Wyatt's chair. The room was filled with sunshine, 
and a caged bird was singing, singing. It made the 
only sound there when they saw that I stood amongst 

When I had made my bow to Lady Wyatt and to 
the Governor, and had clasped hands with Rolfe, I 
began to find in the silence, as I had found in Mas- 
ter Pory's loquaciousness, something strange. They 
looked at me uneasily, and I caught a swift glance 
from the Treasurer to Master Pory, and an answering 
shake of the latter's head. Rolfe was very white and 
his lips were set ; West was pulling at his mustaches 
and staring at the floor. 

" With all our hearts we welcome you back to life 
and to the service of Virginia, Captain Percy," said 
the Governor, when the silence had become awkward. 

A murmur of assent went round the room. 

I bowed. " I thank you, sir, and these gentlemen 
very heartily. You have but to command me now. 
I find that I have to-day the best will in the world 
toward fighting. I trust that your Honor does not 
deem it necessary to send me back to gaol? " 

" Virginia has no gaol for Captain Percy," he an- 
swered gravely. " She has only grateful thanks and 
fullest sympathy." 

I glanced at him keenly. " Then I hold myself at 
your command, sir, when I shall have seen and spoken 
with my wife." 

He looked at the floor, and they one and all held 
their peace. 

" Madam," I said to Lady Wyatt, " I have been 
watching your ladyship's face. Will you tell me why 
it is so very full of pity, and why there are tears in 
your eyes ? " 


She shrank back in her chair with a little cry, and 
Rolfe stepped toward ine, then turned sharply aside. 
" I cannot ! " he cried, " I that know " — 

I drew myself up to meet the blow, whatever it 
might be. " I demand of you my wife, Sir Francis 
Wyatt," I said. " If there is ill news to be told, be so 
good as to tell it quickly. If she is sick, or hath been 
sent away to England " — 

The Governor made as if to speak, then turned and 
flung out his hands to his wife. " 'T is woman's work, 
Margaret ! " he cried. " Tell him ! " 

More merciful than the men, she came to me at 
once, the tears running down her cheeks, and laid one 
trembling hand upon my arm. " She was a brave 
lady, Captain Percy," she said. " Bear it as she would 
have had you bear it." 

" I am bearing it, madam," I answered at length. 
" ' She was a brave lady.' May it please your lady- 
ship to go on ? " 

" I will tell you all, Captain Percy ; I will tell you 
everything. . . . She never believed you dead, and she 
begged upon her knees that we would allow her to go 
in search of you with Master Rolfe. That could not 
be ; my husband, in duty to the Company, could not 
let her have her will. Master Rolfe went, and she sat 
in the window, yonder, day after day, watching for his 
return. When other parties went out, she besought 
the men, as they had wives whom they loved, to search 
as though those loved ones were in captivity and dan- 
ger ; when they grew weary and fainthearted, to think 
of her face waiting in the window. . . . Day after 
day she sat there watching for them to come back; 
when they were come, then she watched the river for 
Master Rolfe' s boats. Then came word down the river 


that he had found no trace of you whom he sought, 
that he was on his way back to Jamestown, that he too 
believed you dead. . . . We put a watch upon her 
after that, for we feared we knew not what, there was 
such a light and purpose in her eyes. But two nights 
ago, in the middle of the night, the woman who stayed 
in her chamber fell asleep. When she awoke before 
the dawn, it was to find her gone." 

" To find her gone ? " I said dully. " To find her 

She locked her hands together and the tears came 
faster. " Oh, Captain Percy, it had been better so ! 
— it had been better so ! Then would she have lain 
to greet you, calm and white, unmarred and beautiful, 
with the spring flowers upon her. . . . She believed 
not that you were dead ; she was distraught with grief 
and watching ; she thought that love might find what 
friendship missed ; she went to the forest to seek you. 
They that were sent to find and bring her back have 
never returned " — 

" Into the forest ! " I cried. " Jocelyn, Jocelyn, 
Jocelyn, come back ! " 

Some one pushed me into a chair, and I felt the 
warmth of wine within my lips. In the moment that 
the world steadied I rose and went toward the door 
to find my way barred by Rolf e. 

" Not you, too, Ralph ! " he cried. " I will not let 
you go. Look for yourself ! " 

He drew me to the window, Master Sandys gravely 
making place for us. From the window was visible 
the neck of land and the forest beyond, and from the 
forest, up and down the river as far as the eye could 
reach, rose here and there thin columns of smoke. 
Suddenly, as we stared, three or four white smoke puffs, 


like giant flowers, started out of the shadowy woods 
across the neck. Following the crack of the muskets 
— fired out of pure bravado by their Indian owners — 
came the yelling of the savages. The sound was pro- 
longed and deep, as though issuing from many throats. 

I looked and listened, and knew that I could not 
go, — not now. 

" She was not alone, Ralph," said Rolfe, with his 
arm about me. " On the morning that she was missed, 
they found not Jeremy Sparrow either. They tracked 
them both to the forest by the footprints upon the 
sand, though once in the wood the trail was lost. The 
minister must have been watching, must have seen her 
leave the house, and must have followed her. How 
she, and he after her, passed through the gates, none 
know. So careless and confident had we grown — 
God forgive us ! • — that they may have been left open 
all that night. But he was with her, Ralph ; she had 
not to face it alone " — His voice broke. 

For myself, I was glad that the minister had been 
there, though I knew that for him also I should grieve 
after a while. 

At the firing and the shouting West had rushed 
from the room, followed by his fellow Councilors, and 
now the Governor clapped on his headpiece and called 
to his men to bring his back-and-breast. His wife 
hung around his neck, and he bade her good-by with 
great tenderness. I looked dully on at that parting. 
I too was going to battle. Once I had tasted such a 
farewell, the pain, the passion, the sweetness, but never 
again, — never again. 

He went, and the Treasurer, after a few words of 
comfort to Lady Wyatt, was gone also. Both were 
merciful, and spoke not to me, but only bowed and 


turned aside, requiring no answering word or motion 
of mine. When they were away, and there was no 
sound in the room save the caged bird's singing and 
Lady Wyatt's low sobs, I begged Rolfe to leave me, 
telling him that he was needed, as indeed he was, and 
that I would stay in the window for a while, and then 
would join him at the palisade. He was loath to go ; 
but he too had loved and lost, and knew that there is 
nothing to be said, and that it is best to be alone. He 
went, and only Lady Wyatt and I kept the quiet room 
with the singing bird and the sunshine on the floor. 

I leaned against the window and looked out into the 
street, — which was not crowded now, for the men 
were all at their several posts, — and at the budding 
trees, and at the smoke of many fires going up from 
the forest to the sky, from a world of hate and pain 
and woe to the heaven where she dwelt, and then I 
turned and went to the table, where had been set bread 
and meat and wine. 

At the sound of my footstep Lady Wyatt uncovered 
her face. " Is there aught that I can do for you, 
sir ? " she asked timidly. 

" I have not broken my fast for many hours, 
madam," I answered. " I would eat and drink, that 
I may not be found wanting in strength. There is a 
thing that I have yet to do." 

Rising from her chair, she brushed away her tears, 
and coming to the table with a little housewifely eager- 
ness would not let me wait upon myself, but carved 
and poured for me, and then sat down opposite me and 
covered her eyes with her hand. 

" I think that the Governor is quite safe, madam," 
I said. " I do not believe that the Indians will take 
the palisade. It may even be that, knowing we are 


prepared, they will not attack at all. Indeed, I think 
that you may be easy about him." 

She thanked me with a smile. " It is all so strange 
and dreadful to me, sir," she said. " At my home, in 
England, it was like a Sunday morning all the year 
round, — all stillness and peace ; no terror, no alarm. 
I fear that I am not yet a good Virginian." 

When I had eaten, and had drunk the wine she 
gave me, I rose, and asked her if I might not see her 
safe within the fort before I joined her husband at the 
palisade. She shook her head, and told me that there 
were with her faithful servants, and that if the savages 
broke in upon the town she would have warning in 
time to flee, the fort being so close at hand. When I 
thereupon begged her leave to depart, she first curtsied 
to me, and then, again with tears, came to me and 
took my hand in hers. " I know that there is naught 
that I can say. . . . Your wife loved you, sir, with all 
her heart." She drew something from the bosom of 
her gown. " Would you like this ? It is a knot of 
ribbon that she wore. They found it caught in a bush 
at the edge of the forest." 

I took the ribbon from her and put it to my lips, 
then unknotted it and tied it around my arm ; and 
then, wearing my wife's colors, I went softly out into 
the street, and turned my face toward the guest house 
and the man whom I meant to kill. 



The door of the guest house stood wide, and within 
the lower room were neither men that drank nor men 
that gave to drink. Host and drawers and chance 
guests alike had left pipe and tankard for sword and 
musket, and were gone to fort or palisade or river 

I crossed the empty room and went up the creaking 
stairway. No one met me or withstood me ; only 
a pigeon perched upon the sill of a sunny window 
whirred off into the blue. I glanced out of the win- 
dow as I passed it, and saw the silver river and the 
George and the Esperance, with the gunners at the 
guns watching for Indian canoes, and saw smoke rising 
from the forest on the southern shore. There had 
been three houses there, — John West's and MinihVs 
and Crashaw's. I wondered if mine were burning, too. 
at Weyanoke, and cared not if 't was so. 

The door of the upper room was shut. When I 
raised the latch and pushed against it, it gave at the 
top and middle, but there was some pressure from 
within at the bottom. I pushed again, more strongly, 
and the door slowly opened, moving away whatever 
thing had lain before it. Another moment, and I was 
in the room, and had closed and barred the door 
behind me. 

The weight that had opposed me was the body of 


the Italian, tying face downwards, upon the floor. 1 
stooped and turned it over, and saw that the venomous 
spirit had flown. The face was purple and distorted ; 
the lips were drawn back from the teeth in a dreadful 
smile. There was in the room a faint, peculiar, not 
unpleasant odor. It did not seem strange to me to 
find that serpent, which had coiled in my path, dead 
and harmless for evermore. Death had been busy of 
late ; if he struck down the flower, why should he 
spare the thing that I pushed out of my way with my 

Ten feet from the door stood a great screen, hiding 
from view all that might be beyond. It was very quiet 
in the room, with the sunshine coming through the 
window, and a breeze that smelt of the sea. I had not 
cared to walk lightly or to close the door softly, and 
yet no voice had challenged my entrance. For a min- 
ute I feared to find the dead physician the room's only 
occupant ; then I passed the screen and came upon my 

He was sitting beside a table, with his arms out- 
stretched and his head bowed upon them. My foot- 
fall did not rouse him ; he sat there in the sunshine 
as still as the figure that hiy before the threshold. I 
thought with a dull fury that maybe he was dead 
already, and I walked hastily and heavily across the 
floor to the table. He was a living man, for with the 
fingers of one hand he was slowly striking against a 
sheet of paper that lay beneath them. He knew not 
that I stood above him ; he was listening to other foot- 

The paper was a letter, unfolded and written over 
with great black characters. The few lines above 
those moving fingers stared me in the face. They ran 


thus : " I told you that you had as well cut your throat 
as go upon that mad Virginia voyage. Now all 's 
gone, — wealth, honors, favor. Buckingham is the 
sun hi heaven, and cold are the shadows in which we 
walk who hailed another luminary. There 's a war- 
rant out for the Black Death ; look to it that one 
meets not you too, when you come at last. But come, 
in the name of all the fiends, and play your last card. 
There 's your cursed beauty still. Come, and let the 
King behold your face once more " — The rest was 

I put out my hand and touched him upon the shoul- 
der, and he raised his head and stared at me as at one 
come from the grave. 

Over one side of his face, from temple to chin, 
was drawn and fastened a black cloth ; the unharmed 
cheek was bloodless and shrunken, the lip twisted. 
Only the eyes, dark, sinister, and splendid, were as 
they had been. " I dig not my graves deep enough," 
he said. " Is she behind you there in the shadow ? " 

Flung across a chair was a cloak of scarlet cloth. 
I took it and spread it out upon the floor, then un- 
sheathed a dagger which I had taken from the rack of 
weapons in the Governor's hall. " Loosen thy poniard, 
thou murderer," I cried, "and come stand with me 
upon the cloak." 

" Art quick or dead ? " he answered. " I will not 
fight the dead." He had not moved in his seat, and 
there was a lethargy and a dullness in his voice and 
eyes. " There is time enough," he said. " I too will 
soon be of thy world, thou haggard, bloody shape. 
Wait until I come, and I will fight thee, shadow to 

" I am not dead," I said, " but there is one that is. 


Stand up, villain and murderer, or I will kill you sitting 
there, with her blood upon your hands ! " 

He rose at that, and drew his dagger from the 
sheath. I laid aside my doublet, and he followed my 
example, but his hands moved listlessly and his fingers 
bungled at the fastenings. I waited for him in some 
wonder, it not being like him to come tardily to such 

He came at length, slowly and with an uncertain 
step, and we stood together on the scarlet cloak. I 
raised my left arm and he raised his, and we locked 
hands. There was no strength in his clasp ; his hand 
lay within mine cold and languid. " Art ready ? " I 

" Yea," he answered in a strange voice, " but I 
would that she did not stand there with her head upon 
your breast. ... I too loved thee, Jocelyn, — Jocelyn 
lying dead in the forest ! " 

I struck at him with the dagger in my right hand, 
and wounded him, but not deeply, in the side. He 
gave blow for blow, but his poniard scarce drew blood, 
so nerveless was the arm that would have driven it 
home. I struck again, and he stabbed weakly at the 
air, then let his arm drop to his side, as though the 
light and jeweled blade had weighed it down. 

Loosening the clasp of our left hands, I fell back 
until the narrow scarlet field was between us. " Hast 
no more strength than that ? " I cried. " I cannot 
murder you ! " 

He stood looking past me as into a great distance. 
He was bleeding, but I had as yet been able to strike 
no mortal blow. " It is as you choose," he said. " I 
am as one bound before you. I am sick unto death." 

Turning, he went back, swaying as he walked, to 


his chair, and sinking into it sat there a minute with 
half -closed eyes ; then raised his head and looked at 
me, with a shadow of the old arrogance, pride, and 
disdain upon his scarred face. " Not yet, captain ? " 
he demanded. " To the heart, man ! So I would 
strike an you sat here and I stood there." 

" I know you would," I said, and going to the win- 
dow I flung the dagger down into the empty street ; 
then stood and watched the smoke across the river, and 
thought it strange that the sun shone and the birds 

When I turned to the room again, he still sat there 
in the great chair, a tragic, splendid figure, with his 
ruined face and the sullen woe of his eyes. " I had 
sworn to kill you," I said. " It is not just that you 
should live." 

He gazed at me with something like a smile upon 
his bloodless lips. " Fret not thyself, Ralph Percy," 
he said. " Within a week I shall be gone. Did you 
see my servant, my Italian doctor, lying dead upon the 
floor, there beyond the screen ? He had poisons, had 
Nicolo whom men called the Black Death, — poisons 
swift and strong, or subtle and slow. Day and night, 
the earth and sunshine have become hateful to me. I 
will go to the fires of hell, and see if they can make 
me forget, — can make me forget the face of a woman." 
He was speaking half to me, half to himself. " Her 
eyes are dark and large," he said, " and there are 
shadows beneath them, and the mark of tears. She 
stands there day and night with her eyes upon me. 
Her lips are parted, but she never speaks. There was 
a way that she had with her hands, holding them one 
within the other, thus " — 

I stopped him with a cry for silence, and I leaned 


trembling against the table. " Thou wretch ! " I cried. 
" Thou art her murderer ! " 

He raised his head and looked beyond me with that 
strange, faint smile. " I know," he replied, with the 
dignity which was his at times. " You may play the 
headsman, if you choose. I dispute not your right. 
But it is scarce worth while. I have taken poison." 

The sunshine came into the room, and the wind 
from the river, and the trumpet notes of swans flying 
to the north. " The George is ready for sailing," he 
said at last. " To-morrow or the next day she will be 
going home with the tidings of this massacre. I shall 
go with her, and within a week they will bury me at 
sea. There is a stealthy., slow, and secret poison. . . . 
I would not die in a land where I have lost every 
throw of the dice, and I would not die in England for 
Buckingham to come and look upon my face, and so I 
took that poison. For the man upon the floor, there, 
— prison and death awaited him at home. He chose 
to flee at once." 

He ceased to speak, and sat with his head bowed 
upon his breast. " If you are content that it should 
be as it is," he said at length, " perhaps you will leave 
me? I am not good company to-day." 

His hand was busy again with the letter upon the 
table, and his gaze was fixed beyond me. " I have 
lost," he muttered. " How I came to play my cards 
so badly I do not know. The stake was heavy, — I 
have not wherewithal to play again." 

His head sank upon his outstretched arm. As for 
me, I stood a minute with set lips and clenched hands, 
and then I turned and went out of the room and down 
the stair and out into the street. In the dust beneath 
the window lay my dagger. I picked it up, sheathed 
it, and went my way. 



The street was very quiet. All windows and doors 
were closed and barred ; not a soul was there to trouble 
me with look or speech. The yelling from the forest 
had ceased ; only the keen wind blew, and brought 
from the Esperance upon the river a sound of singing. 
The sea was the home of the men upon her decks, and 
their hearts dwelt not in this port ; they could sing- 
while the smoke went up from our homes and the dead 
lay across the thresholds. 

I went on through the sunshine and the stillness to 
the minister's house. The trees in the garden were 
bare, the flowers dead. The door was not barred. I 
entered the house and went into the great room and 
flung the heavy shutters wide, then stood and looked 
about me. Naught was changed ; it was as we had 
left it that wild November night. Even the mirror 
which, one other night, had shown me Diccon still 
hung upon the wall. Master Bucke had been seldom 
at home, perhaps, or was feeble and careless of altering 
matters. All was as though we had been but an hour 
gone, save that no fire burned upon the hearth. 

I went to the table, and the books upon it were Jer- 
emy Sparrow's: the minister's house, then, had been 
his home once more. Beside the books lay a packet, 
tied with silk, sealed, and addressed to me. Perhaps 
the Governor had given it, the day before, into Mas- 
ter Bucke's care, — I do not know ; at any rate, there 
it lay. I looked at the "By the Esperance" upon 
the cover, and wondered dully who at home would 
care to write to me ; then broke the seal and untied 
the silk. Within the cover there was a letter with 
the superscription, " To a Gentleman who has served 
me well." 

I read the letter through to the signature, which 


was that of his Grace of Buckingham, and then I 
laughed, who had never thought to laugh again, and 
threw the paper down. It mattered naught to me now 
that George Villiers should be grateful, or that James 
Stewart could deny a favorite nothing. " The King 
graciously sanctions the marriage of his sometime 
zoard, the Lady Jocelyn Leigh, with Captain Ralph 
Percy ; invites them home " — 

She was gone home, and I her husband, I who 
loved her, was left behind. How many years of pil- 
grimage . . . how long, how long, O Lord ? 

The minister's great armchair was drawn before 
the cold and blackened hearth. How often she had 
sat there within its dark clasp, the firelight on her 
dress, her hands, her face ! She had been fair to look 
upon ; the pride, the daring, the willfulness, were but 
the thorns about the rose ; behind those defenses was 
the flower, pure and lovely, with a heart of gold. I 
flung myself down beside the chair, and, putting my 
arms across it, hid my face upon them, and could 
weep at last. 

That passion spent itself, and I lay with my face 
against the wood and well-nigh slept. The battle was 
done ; the field was lost ; the storm and stress of life 
had sunk into this dull calm, as still as peace, as 
hopeless as the charred log and white ash upon the 
hearth, cold, never to be quickened again. 

Time passed, and at length I raised my head, 
roused suddenly to the consciousness that for a while 
there had been no stillness. The air was full of sound, 
shouts, savage cries, the beating of a drum, the noise 
of musketry. I sprang to my feet, and went to the 
door to meet Rolfe crossing the threshold. 

He put his arm within mine and drew me out into 


the sunshine upon the doorstep. " I thought I should 
find you here," he said ; " but it is only a room with 
its memories, Ralph. Out here is more breadth, more 
height. There is country yet, Ralph, and after a 
while, friends. The Indians are beginning to attack 
in force. Humphry Boyse is killed, and Morris 
Chaloner. There is smoke over the plantations up 
and down the river, as far as we can see, and awhile 
ago the body of a child drifted down to us." 

" I am unarmed," I said. " I will but run to the 
fort for sword and musket " — 

" No need," he answered. " There are the dead 
whom you may rob." The noise increasing as he 
spoke, we made no further tarrying, but, leaving 
behind us house and garden, hurried to the palisade. 



Through a loophole in the gate of the palisade I 
looked, and saw the sandy neck joining the town to 
the main, and the deep and dark woods beyond, the 
fairy mantle giving invisibility to a host. Between 
us and that refuge dead men lay here and there, stiff 
and stark, with the black paint upon them, and the 
colored feathers of their headdresses red or blue 
against the sand. One warrior, shot through the 
back, crawled like a wounded beetle to the forest. 
We let him go, for we cared not to waste ammunition 
upon him. 

I drew back from my loophole, and held out my 
hand to the women for a freshly loaded musket. A 
quick murmur like the drawing of a breath came from 
our line. The Governor, standing near me, cast an 
anxious glance along the stretch of wooden stakes 
that were neither so high nor so thick as they should 
have been. " I am new to this warfare, Captain 
Percy," he said. " Do they think to use those logs 
that they carry as battering rams ? " 

" As scaling ladders, your Honor," I replied. " It 
is on the cards that we may have some sword play, 
after all." 

" We '11 take your advice, the next time we build a 
palisade, Ralph Percy," muttered West on my other 
side. Mounting the breastwork that we had thrown 


up to shelter the women who were to load the mus- 
kets, he coolly looked over the pales at the oncoming 
savages. " Wait until they pass the blasted pine, 
men ! " he cried. " Then give them a hail of lead 
that will beat them back to the Pamunkey ! " 

An arrow whistled by his ear ; a second struck him 
on the shoulder, but pierced not his coat of mail. He 
came down from his dangerous post with a laugh. 

" If the leader could be picked off " — I said. " It 's 
a long shot, but there 's no harm in trying." 

As I spoke I raised my gun to my shoulder ; but 
he leaned across Rolfe, who stood between us, and 
plucked me by the sleeve. " You 've not looked at 
him closely. Look again." 

I did as he told me, and lowered my musket. It 
was not for me to send that Indian leader to his ac- 
count. Rolfe's lips tightened and a sudden pallor 
overspread his face. " Nantauquas ? " he muttered in 
my ear, and I nodded yes. 

The volley that we fired full into the ranks of our 
foe was deadly, and we looked to see them turn and 
flee, as they had fled before. But this time they were 
led by one who had been trained in English stead- 
fastness. Broken for the moment, they rallied and 
came on yelling, bearing logs, thick branches of trees, 
oars tied together, — anything by whose help they 
could hope to surmount the palisade. We fired again, 
but they had planted their ladders. Before we could 
snatch the loaded muskets from the women a dozen 
painted figures appeared above the sharpened stakes. 
A moment, and they and a score behind them had 
leaped down upon us. 

It was no time now to skulk behind a palisade. 
At all hazards, that tide from the forest must be 


stemmed. Those that were amongst us we might kill, 
but more were swarming after them, and from the 
neck came the exultant yelling of madly hurrying 

We flung open the gates. I drove my sword 
through the heart of an Indian who would have op- 
posed me, and, calling for men to follow me, sprang 
forward. Perhaps thirty came at my call ; together 
we made for the opening. A party of the savages in 
our midst interposed. We set upon them with sword 
and musket butt, and though they fought like very 
devils drove them before us through the gateway. 
Behind us were wild clamor, the shrieking of women, 
the stern shouts of the English, the whooping of the 
savages ; before us a rush that must be met and 

It was done. A moment's fierce fighting, then the 
Indians wavered, broke, and fled. Like sheep we 
drove them before us, across the neck, to the edge of 
the forest, into which they plunged. Into that am- 
bush we cared not to follow, but fell back to the pali- 
sade and the town, believing, and with reason, that 
the lesson had been taught. The strip of sand was 
strewn with the dead and the dying, but they belonged 
not to us. Our dead numbered but three, and we 
bore their bodies with us. 

Within the palisade we found the English in suffi- 
ciently good case. Of the score or more Indians cut 
off by us from their mates and penned within that 
death trap, half at least were already dead, run 
through with sword and pike, shot down with the mus- 
kets that there was now time to load. The remain- 
der, hemmed about, pressed against the wall, were 
fast meeting with a like fate. They stood no chance 


against as ; we cared not to make prisoners of them ; 
it was a slaughter, but they had taken the initiative. 
They fought with the courage of despair, striving to 
spring in upon us, striking when they could with 
hatchet and knife, and through it all talking and 
laughing, making God knows what savage boasts, 
what taunts against the English, what references to 
the hunting grounds to which they were going. They 
were brave men that we slew that day. 

At last there was left but the leader, — unharmed, 
un wounded, though time and again he had striven to 
close with some one of us, to strike and to die striking 
with his fellows. Behind him was the wall : of the 
half circle which he faced well-nigh all were old sol- 
diers and servants of the colony, gentlemen none of 
whom had come in later than Dale, — Rolfe, West, 
Wynne, and others. We were swordsmen all. When 
in his desperation he would have thrown himself 
upon us, we contented ourselves with keeping him at 
sword's length, and at last West sent the knife in the 
dark hand whirling over the palisade. Some one had 
shouted to the musketeers to spare him. 

When he saw that he stood alone, he stepped back 
against the wall, drew himself up to his full height, 
and folded his arms. Perhaps he thought that we 
would shoot him down then and there ; perhaps he 
saw himself a captive amongst us, a show for the idle 
and for the strangers that the ships brought in. 

The din had ceased, and we the living, the victors, 
stood and looked at the vanquished dead at our feet, 
and at the dead beyond the gates, and at the neck 
upon which was no living foe, and at the blue sky 
bending over all. Our hearts told us, and told us 
truly, that the lesson had been taught, that no more 


forever need we at Jamestown fear an Indian attack. 
And then we looked at him whose life we had spared. 

He opposed our gaze with his folded arms and his 
head held high and his back against the wall. Many 
of us could remember him, a proud, shy lad, coming 
for the first time from the forest with his sister to see 
the English village and its wonders. For idleness we 
had set him in our midst that summer day, long ago, 
on the green by the fort, and had called him "your 
royal highness," laughing at the quickness of our wit, 
and admiring the spirit and bearing of the lad and 
the promise he gave of a splendid manhood. And all 
knew the tale I had brought the night before. 

Slowly, as one man, and with no spoken word, we 
fell back, the half circle straightening into a line and 
leaving a clear pathway to the open gates. The wind 
had ceased to blow, I remember, and a sunny still- 
ness lay upon the sand, and the rough-hewn wooden 
stakes, and a little patch of tender grass across which 
stretched a dead man's arm. The church bells began 
to ring. 

The Indian out of whose path to life and freedom we 
had stepped glanced from the line of lowered steel to 
the open gates and the forest beyond, and understood. 
For a full minute he waited, moving not a muscle, 
still and stately as some noble masterpiece in bronze. 
Then he stepped from the shadow of the wall and 
moved past us through the sunshine that turned the 
eagle feather in his scalp lock to gold. His eyes were 
fixed upon the forest ; there was no change in the 
superb calm of his face. He went by the huddled 
dead and the long line of the living that spoke no 
word, and out of the gates and across the neck, walk- 
ing slowly that we might yet shoot him down if we 


saw fit to repent ourselves, and proudly like a king's 
son. There was no sound save the church bells ring- 
ing for our deliverance. He reached the shadow of 
the trees : a moment, and the forest had back her 

We sheathed our swords and listened to the Gov- 
ernor's few earnest words of thankfulness and of recog- 
nition of this or that man's service, and then we set to 
work to clear the ground of the dead, to place senti- 
nels, to bring the town into order, to determine what 
policy we should pursue, to search for ways by which 
we might reach and aid those who might be yet alive 
in the plantations above and below us. 

We could not go through the forest where every 
tree might hide a foe, but there was the river. For 
the most part, the houses of the English had been 
built, like mine at Weyanoke, very near to the water. 
I volunteered to lead a party up river, and Wynne to 
go with another toward the bay. But as the council 
at the Governor's was breaking up, and as Wynne 
and I were hurrying off to make our choice of the 
craft at the landing, there came a great noise from 
the watchers upon the bank, and a cry that boats were 
coming down the stream. 

It was so, and there were in them white men, nearly 
all of whom had their wounds to show, and cowering 
women and children. One boat had come from the 
plantation at Paspahegh, and two from Martin-Bran- 
don ; they held all that were left of the people. . . . 
A woman had in her lap the body of a child, and 
would not let us take it from her ; another, with a 
half-severed arm, crouched above a man who lay in 
his blood in the bottom of the boat. 

Thus began that strange procession that lasted 


throughout the afternoon and night and into the 
next day, when a sloop came down from Henricus 
with the news that the English were in force there 
to stand their ground, although their loss had been 
heavy. Hour after hour they came as fast as sail and 
oar could bring them, the panic-stricken folk, whose 
homes were burned, whose kindred were slain, who 
had themselves escaped as by a miracle. Many were 
sorely wounded, so that they died when we lifted them 
from the boats ; others had slighter hurts. Each 
boatload had the same tale to tell of treachery, sur- 
prise, and fiendish butchery. Wherever it had been 
possible the English had made a desperate defense, in 
the face of which the savages gave way and finally 
retired to the forest. Contrary to their wont, the 
'Indians took few prisoners, but for the most part slew 
outright those whom they seized, wreaking their spite 
upon the senseless corpses. A man too good for this 
world, George Thorpe, who would think no evil, was 
killed and his body mutilated by those whom he had 
taught and loved. And Nathaniel Powel was dead, 
and four others of the Council, besides many more of 
name and note. There were many women slain and 
little children. 

From the stronger hundreds came tidings of the 
number lost, and that the survivors would hold the 
homes that were left, for the time at least. The 
Indians had withdrawn ; it remained to be seen if 
they were satisfied with the havoc they had wrought. 
Would his Honor send by boat — there could be no 
traveling through the woods — news of how others 
had fared, and also powder and shot ? 

Before the dawning we had heard from all save the 
remoter settlements. The blow had been struck, and 


the hurt was deep. But it was not beyond remedy, 
thank God ! It is known what measures we took for 
our protection, and how soon the wound to the colony 
was healed, and what vengeance we meted out to those 
who had set upon us in the dark, and had failed to 
reach the heart. These things belong to history, and 
I am but telling my own story, — mine and another's. 

In the chill and darkness of the hour before dawn 
something like quiet fell upon the distracted, breath- 
less town. There was a pause in the coming of the 
boats. The wounded and the dying had been cared 
for, and the noise of the women and the children was 
stilled at last. All was well at the palisade ; the 
strong party encamped upon the neck reported the 
forest beyond them as still as death. 

In the Governor's house was held a short council, 
subdued and quiet, for we were all of one mind and 
our words were few. It was decided that the George 
should sail at once with the tidings, and with an 
appeal for arms and powder and a supply of men. 
The Esperance would still be with us, besides the 
Hope-in-God and the Tiger ; the Margaret and John 
would shortly come in, being already overdue. 

" My Lord Carnal goes upon the George, gentle- 
men," said Master Pory. " He sent but now to 
demand if she sailed to-morrow. He is ill, and would 
be at home." 

One or two glanced at me, but I sat with a face 
like stone, and the Governor, rising, broke up the 

I left the house, and the street that was lit with 
torches and noisy with going to and fro, and went 
down to the river. Rolfe had been detained by the 
Governor, "West commanded the party at the neck 


There were great fires burning along the river bank, 
and men watching for the incoming boats ; but I 
knew of a place where no guard was set, and where 
one or two canoes were moored. There was no fire- 
light there, and no one saw me when I entered a canoe 
and cut the rope and pushed off from the land. 

Well-nigh a day and a night had passed since Lady 
Wyatt had told me that which made for my heart a 
night-time indeed. I believed my wife to be dead, — 
yea, I trusted that she was dead. I hoped that it had 
been quickly over, — one blow. . . . Better that, oh, 
better that a thousand times, than that she should 
have been carried off to some village, saved to-day to 
die a thousand deaths to-morrow. 

But I thought that there might have been left, 
lying on the dead leaves of the forest, that fair shell 
from which the soul had flown. I knew not where to 
go, — to the north, to the east, to the west, — but go 
I must. I had no hope of finding that which I went 
to seek, and no thought but to take up that quest. I 
was a soldier, and I had stood to my post; but now 
the need was past, and I could go. In the hall at the 
Governor's house, I had written a line of farewell to 
Rolfe, and had given the paper into the hand of a 
trusty fellow, charging him not to deliver it for two 
hours to come. 

I rowed two miles downstream through the quiet 
darkness, — so quiet after the hubbub of the town. 
When I turned my boat to the shore the day was 
close at hand. The stars were gone, and a pale, cold 
light, more desolate than the dark, streamed from the 
east across which ran, like a faded blood stain, a smear 
of faint red. Upon the forest the mist lay heavy. 
When I drove the boat in amongst the sedge and 


reeds below the bank, I could see only the trunks of 
the nearest trees, hear only the sullen cry of some 
river bird that I had disturbed. 

Why I was at some pains to fasten the boat to a 
sycamore that dipped a pallid arm into the stream I 
do not know. I never thought to come back to the 
sycamore ; I never thought to bend to an oar again, 
to behold again the river that the trees and the mist 
hid from me before I had gone twenty yards into the 



It was like a May morning, so mild was the air, so 
gay the sunshine, when the mist had risen. Wild 
flowers were blooming, and here and there unfolding 
leaves made a delicate fretwork against a deep blue 
sky. The wind did not blow ; everywhere were still- 
ness soft and sweet, dewy freshness, careless peace. 

Hour after hour I walked slowly through the wood- 
land, pausing now and then to look from side to side. 
It was idle going, wandering in a desert with no 
guiding star. The place where I would be might lie 
to the east, to the west. In the wide enshrouding 
forest I might have passed it by. I believed not that 
I had done so. Surely, surely I should have known ; 
surely the voice that lived only in my heart would 
have called to me to stay. 

Beside a newly felled tree, in a glade starred with 
small white flowers, I came upon the bodies of a man 
and a boy, so hacked, so hewn, so robbed of all come- 
liness, that at the sight the heart stood still and the 
brain grew sick. Farther on was a clearing, and in 
its midst the charred and blackened walls of what had 
been a home. I crossed the freshly turned earth, and 
looked in at the cabin door with the stillness and the 
sunshine. A woman lay dead upon the floor, her out- 
stretched hand clenched upon the foot of a cradle. I 
entered the room, and, looking within the cradle, 


found that the babe had not been spared. Taking up 
the little waxen body with the blood upon its innocent 
breast, I laid it within the mother's arms, and went 
my way over the sunny doorstep and the earth that 
had been made ready for planting. A white butterfly 
— the first of the year — fluttered before me ; then 
rose through a mist of green and passed from my sight. 

The sun climbed higher into the deep blue sky. 
Save where grew pines or cedars there were no shad- 
owy places in the forest. The slight green of uncurl- 
ing leaves, the airy scarlet of the maples, the bare 
branches of the tardier trees, opposed no barrier to 
the sunlight. It streamed into the world below the 
treetops, and lay warm upon the dead leaves and the 
green moss and the fragile wild flowers. There was 
a noise of birds, and a fox barked. All was lightness, 
gayety, and warmth ; the sap was running, the hey- 
day of the spring at hand. Ah ! to be riding with her, 
to be going home through the fairy forest, the sunshine, 
and the singing ! . . . The happy miles to Weyanoke, 
the smell of the sassafras in its woods, the house all lit 
and trimmed. The fire kindled, the wine upon the 
table . . . Diccon's welcoming face, and his hand upon 
Black Lamoral's bridle ; the minister, too, maybe, with 
his great heart and his kindly eyes ; her hand in mine, 
her head upon my breast — 

The vision faded. Never, never, never for me a 
home-coming such as that, so deep, so dear, so sweet. 
The men who were my friends, the woman whom I 
loved, had gone into a far country. This world was 
not their home. They had crossed the threshold while 
I lagged behind. The door was shut, and without 
were the night and I. 

With the fading of the vision came a sudden con- 


sciousness of a presence in the forest other than my 
own. I turned sharply, and saw an Indian walking 
with me, step for step, but with a space between us of 
earth and brown tree trunks and drooping branches. 
For a moment I thought that he was a shadow, not 
substance ; then I stood still, waiting for him to speak 
or to draw nearer. At the first glimpse of the bronze 
figure I had touched my sword, but when I saw who it 
was I let my hand fall. He too paused, but he did 
not offer to speak. With his hand upon a great bow, 
he waited, motionless in the sunlight. A minute or 
more thus ; then I walked on with my eyes upon him. 

At once he addressed himself to motion, not speak- 
ing or making any sign or lessening the distance 
between us, but moving as I moved through the light 
and shade, the warmth and stillness, of the forest. 
For a time I kept my eyes upon him, but soon I was 
back with my dreams again. It seemed not worth 
while to wonder why he walked with me, who was now 
the mortal foe of the people to whom he had returned. 

From the river bank, the sycamore, and the boal^ 
that I had fastened there, I had gone northward to- 
ward the Pamunkey ; from the clearing and the ruined 
cabin with the dead within it, I had turned to the east- 
ward. Now, in that hopeless wandering, I would have 
faced the north again. But the Indian who had made 
himself my traveling companion stopped short, and 
pointed to the east. I looked at him, and thought 
that he knew, maybe, of some war party between us 
and the Pamunkey, and would save me from it. A 
listlessness had come upon me, and I obeyed the point- 
ing finger. 

So, estranged and silent, with two spears' length of 
earth between us, we went on until we came to a quiet 


stream flowing between low, dark banks. Again I 
would have turned to the northward, but the son of 
Powhatan, gliding before me, set his face down the 
stream, toward the river I had left. A minute in 
which I tried to think and could not, because in my 
ears was the singing of the birds at Weyanoke ; then 
I followed him. 

How long I walked in a dream, hand in hand with 
the sweetness of the past, I do not know ; but when 
the present and its anguish weighed again upon my 
heart it was darker, colder, stiller, in the forest. The 
soundless stream was bright no longer ; the golden 
sunshine that had lain upon the earth was all gathered 
up ; the earth was dark and smooth and bare, with not 
a flower ; the tree trunks were many and straight and 
tall. Above were no longer brown branch and blue 
sky, but a deep and sombre green, thick woven, keep- 
ing out the sunlight like a pall. I stood still and 
gazed around me, and knew the place. 

To me, whose heart was haunted, the dismal wood, 
the charmed silence, the withdrawal of the light, were 
less than nothing. All day I had looked for one sight 
of horror ; yea, had longed to come at last upon it, to 
fall beside it, to embrace it with my arms. There, 
there, though it should be some fair and sunny spot, 
there would be my haunted wood. As for this place 
of gloom and stillness, it fell in with my mood. More 
welcome than the mocking sunshine were this cold and 
solemn light, this deathlike silence, these ranged pines. 
It was a place in which to think of life as a slight 
thing and scarcely worth the while, given without the 
asking, spent in turmoil, strife, suffering, and longings 
all in vain. Easily laid down, too, — so easily laid 
down that the wonder was — 


I looked at the ghostly wood, and at the dull stream, 
and at my hand upon the hilt of the sword that 1 had 
drawn halfway from the scabbard. The life within 
that hand I had not asked for. Why should I stand 
like a soldier left to guard a thing not worth the 
guarding; seeing his comrades march homeward, 
hearing a cry to him from his distant hearthstone? 

I drew my sword well-nigh from its sheath ; and 
then of a sudden I saw the matter in a truer light ; 
knew that I was indeed the soldier, and willed to be 
neither coward nor deserter. The blade dropped back 
into the scabbard with a clang, and, straightening 
myself, I walked on beside the sluggish stream deep 
into the haunted wood. 

Presently it occurred to me to glance aside at the 
Indian who had kept pace with me through the forest. 
He was not there ; he walked with me no longer ; 
save for myself there seemed no breathing creature in 
the dim wood. I looked to right and left, and saw 
only the tall, straight pines and the needle-strewn 
ground. How long he had been gone I could not 
tell. He might have left me when first we came to 
the pines, for my dreams had held me, and I had not 
looked his way. 

There was that in the twilight place, or in the 
strangeness, the horror, and the yearning that had 
kept company with me that day, or in the dull weari- 
ness of a mind and body overwrought of late, which 
made thought impossible. I went on down the stream 
toward the river, because it chanced that my face was 
set in that direction. 

How dark was the shadow of the pines, how lifeless 
the earth beneath, how faint and far away the blue 
that showed here and there through rifts in the heavy 


roof of foliage ! The stream bending to one side I 
turned with it, and there before me stood the minister ! 

I do not know what strangled cry burst from me. 
The earth was rocking, all the wood a glare of light. 
As for him, at the sight of me and the sound of my 
voice he had staggered back against a tree ; but now, 
recovering himself, he ran to me and put his great 
arms about me. " From the power of the dog, from 
the lion's mouth," he cried brokenly. "And they 
slew thee not, Ralph, the heathen who took thee away ! 
Yesternight I learned that you lived, but I looked not 
for you here." 

I scarce heard or marked what he was saying, and 
found no time in which to wonder at his knowledge 
that I had not perished. I only saw that he was alone, 
and that in the evening wood there was no sign of 
other living creature. 

" Yea, they slew me not, Jeremy," I said. " I 
would that they had done so. And you are alone ? I 
am glad that you died not, my friend ; yes, faith, 
I am very glad that one escaped. Tell me about it, 
and I will sit here upon the bank and listen. Was it 
done in this wood ? A gloomy deathbed, friend, for 
one so young and fair. She should have died to soft 
music, in the sunshine, with flowers about her." 

With an exclamation he put me from him, but kept 
his hand upon my arm and his steady eyes upon my 

" She loved laughter and sunshine and sweet songs," 
I continued. " She can never know them in this wood. 
They are outside ; they are outside the world, I think. 
It is sad, is it not ? Faith, I think it is the saddest 
thing I have ever known." 

He clapped his other hand upon my shoulder 


" Wake, man ! " he commanded. " If thou shouldst 
go mad now — Wake ! thy brain is turning. Hold to 
thyself. Stand fast, as thou art soldier and Christian ! 
Ralph, she is not dead. She will wear flowers, — thy 
flowers, — sing, laugh, move through the sunshine of 
earth for many and many a year, please God ! Art 
listening, Ralph? Canst hear what I am saying?" 

" I hear," I said at last, " but I do not well under- 

He pushed me back against a pine, and held me 
there with his hands upon my shoulders. " Listen," 
he said, speaking rapidly and keeping his eyes upon 
mine. " All those days that you were gone, when all 
the world declared you dead, she believed you living. 
She saw party after party come back without you, and 
she believed that you were left behind in the forest. 
Also she knew that the George waited but for the 
search to be quite given over, and for my Lord Car- 
nal's recovery. She had been told that the King's 
command might not be defied, that the Governor had 
no choice but to send her from Virginia. Ralph, I 
watched her, and I knew that she meant not to go 
upon that ship. Three nights agone she stole from 
the Governor's house, and, passing through the gates 
that the sleeping warder had left unfastened, went 
toward the forest. I saw her and followed her, and 
at the edge of the forest I spoke to her. I stayed her 
not, I brought her not back, Ralph, because I was con- 
vinced that an I did so she would die. I knew of no 
great danger, and I trusted in the Lord to show me 
what to do, step by step, and how to guide her gently 
back when she was weary of wandering, — when, worn 
out, she was willing to give up the quest for the dead. 
Art following me, Ralph ? " 


" Yes," I answered, and took my hand from my 
eyes. " I was nigh mad, Jeremy, for my faith was 
not like hers. I have looked on Death too much of 
late, and yesterday all men believed that he had come 
to dwell in the forest and had swept clean his house 
before him. But you escaped, you both escaped " — 

"God's hand was over us," he said reverently. 
" This is the way of it. She had been ill, you know, 
and of late she had taken no thought of food or sleep. 
She was so weak, we had to go so slowly, and so 
winding was our path, who knew not the country, that 
the evening found us not far upon our way, if way we 
had. We came to a cabin in a clearing, and they 
whose home it was gave us shelter for the night. In 
the morning, when the father and son would go forth 
to their work we walked with them. When they came 
to the trees they meant to fell we bade them good-by, 
and went on alone. We had not gone an hundred 
paces when, looking back, we saw three Indians start 
from the dimness of the forest and set upon and slay 
the man and the boy. That murder done they gave 
chase to me, who caught up thy wife and ran for both 
our lives. When I saw that they were light of foot 
and would overtake me, I set my burden down, and, 
drawing a sword that I had with me, went back to 
meet them halfway. Ralph, I slew all three, — may 
the Lord have mercy on my soul ! I knew not what 
to think of that attack, the peace with the Indians 
being so profound, and I began to fear for thy wife's 
safety. She knew not the woods, and I managed to 
turn our steps back toward Jamestown without her 
knowledge that I did so. It was about midday when 
we saw the gleam of the river through the trees before 
us, and heard the sound of firing and of a great yell- 


ing. I made her crouch within a thicket, while 1 
myself went forward to reconnoitre, and well-nigh 
stumbled into the midst of an army. Yelling, painted, 
maddened, brandishing their weapons toward the town, 
human hair dabbled with blood at the belts of many 
— in the name of God, Ralph, what is the meaning of 
it all?" 

" It means," I said, "that yesterday they rose 
against us and slew us by the hundred. The town 
was warned and is safe. Go on." 

" I crept back to madam," he continued, " and hur- 
ried her away from that dangerous neighborhood. 
We found a growth of bushes and hid ourselves 
within it, and just in time, for from the north came 
a great band of picked warriors, tall and black and 
wondrously feathered, fresh to the fray, whatever the 
fray might be. They joined themselves to the imps 
upon the river bank, and presently we heard another 
great din with more firing and more yelling. Well, 
to make a long story short, we crouched there in the 
bushes until late afternoon, not knowing what was 
the matter, and not daring to venture forth to find 
out. The woman of the cabin at which we had slept 
had given us a packet of bread and meat, so we were 
not without food, but the time was long. And then 
of a sudden the wood around us was filled with the 
heathen, band after band, coming from the river, 
stealing like serpents this way and that into the depths 
of the forest. They saw us not in the thick bushes ; 
maybe it was because of the prayers which I said 
with might and main. At last the distance swallowed 
them, the forest seemed clear, no sound, no motion. 
Long we waited, but with the sunset we stole from 
the bushes and down an aisle of the forest toward the 


river, rounded a little wood of cedar, and came full 
upon perhaps fifty of the savages " — He paused to 
draw a great breath and to raise his brows after a 
fashion that he had. 

" Go on, go on ! " I cried. " What did you do ? 
You. have said that she is alive and safe ! " 

" She is," he answered, " but no thanks to me, 
though I did set lustily upon that painted fry. Who 
led them, d' ye think, Ralph ? Who saved us from 
those bloody hands ? " 

A light broke in upon me. " I know," I said. 
" And he brought you here " — 

"Ay, he sent away the devils whose color he is, 
worse luck ! He told us that there were Indians, not 
of his tribe, between us and the town. If we went on 
we should fall into their hands. But there was a 
place that was shunned by the Indian as by the white 
man : we could bide there until the morrow, when we 
might find the woods clear. He guided us to this dis- 
mal wood that was not altogether strange to us. Ay, 
he told her that you were alive. He said no more 
than that ; all at once, when we were well within the 
wood and the twilight was about us, he was gone." 

He ceased to speak, and stood regarding me with 
a smile upon his rugged face. I took his hand and 
raised it to my lips. " I owe you more than I can 
ever pay," I said. " Where is she, my friend? " 

" Not far away," he answered. " We sought the 
centre of the wood, and because she was so chilled 
and weary and shaken I did dare to build a fire there. 
Not a foe has come against us, and we waited but for 
the dusk of this evening to try to make the town. I 
came down to the stream just now to find, if I could, 
how near we were to the river " — 


He broke off., made a gesture with his hand toward 
one of the long aisles of pine trees, and then, with a 
muttered " God bless you both," left me, and going 
a little way down the stream, stood with his back to a 
great tree and his eyes upon the slow, deep water. 

She was coming. I watched the slight figure grow 
out of the dusk between the trees, and the darkness 
in which I had walked of late fell away. The wood 
that had been so gloomy was a place of sunlight and 
song ; had red roses sprung up around me I had felt 
no wonder. She came softly and slowly, with bent 
head and hanging arms, not knowing that I was near. 
I went not to meet her, — it was my fancy to have 
her come to me still, — but when she raised her eyes 
and saw me I fell upon my knees. 

For a moment she stood still, with her hands at her 
bosom ; then, softly and slowly through the dusky 
wood, she came to me and touched me upon the shoul- 
der. " Art come to take me home ? " she asked. " I 
have wept and prayed and waited long, but now the 
spring is here and the woods are growing green." 

I took her hands and bowed my head upon them. 
" I believed thee dead," I said. " I thought that thou 
hadst gone home, indeed, and I was left in the world 
alone. I can never tell thee how I love thee." 

" I need no telling," she answered. " I am glad 
that I did so forget my womanhood as to come to Vir- 
ginia on such an errand ; glad that they did laugh at 
and insult me in the meadow at Jamestown, for else 
thou mightst have given me no thought ; very heartily 
glad that thou didst buy me with thy handful of to- 
bacco. With all my heart I love thee, my knight, my 
lover, my lord and husband " — Her voice broke, 
and I felt the trembling of her frame. " I love not 


thy tears upon my hands," she murmured. " I have 
wandered far and am weary. Wilt rise and put thy 
arm around me and lead me home ? " 

I stood up, and she came to my arms like a tired 
bird to its nest. I bent my head, and kissed her upon 
the brow, the blue-veined eyelids, the perfect lips. 
" I love thee," I said. " The song is old, but it is 
sweet. See ! I wear thy color, my lady." 

The hand that had touched the ribbon upon my 
arm stole upwards to my lips. " An old song, but a 
sweet one," she said. " I love thee. I will always 
love thee. My head may lie upon thy breast, but my 
heart lies at thy feet." 

There was joy in the haunted wood, deep peace, 
quiet thankfulness, a springtime of the heart, — not 
riotous like the May, but fair and grave and tender 
like the young world in the sunshine without the 
pines. Our lips met again, and then, with my arm 
around her, we moved to the giant pine beneath which 
stood the minister. He turned at our approach, and 
looked at us with a quiet and tender smile, though 
the water stood in his eyes. " ' Heaviness may endure 
for a night,' " he said, " ' but joy cometh in the morn- 
ing.' I thank God for you both." 

" Last summer, in the green meadow, we knelt 
before you while you blessed us, Jeremy," I answered. 
" Bless us now again, true friend and man of God." 

He laid his hands upon our bowed heads and 
blessed us, and then we three moved through the dis- 
mal wood and beside the sluggish stream down to the 
great bright river. Ere we reached it the pines had 
fallen away, the haunted wood was behind us, our 
steps were set through a fairy world of greening 
bough and springing bloom. The blue sky laughed 


above, the late sunshine barred our path with gold 
When we came to the river it lay in silver at our 
feet, making low music amongst its reeds. 

I had bethought me of the boat which I had fas- 
tened that morning to the sycamore between us and 
the town, and now we moved along the river bank 
until we should come to the tree. Though we walked 
through an enemy's country we saw no foe. Stillness 
and peace encompassed us ; it was like a beautiful 
dream from which one fears no wakening. 

As we went, I told them, speaking low, for we knew 
not if we were yet in safety, of the slaughter that had 
been made and of Diccon. My wife shuddered and 
wept, and the minister drew long breaths while his 
hands opened and closed. And then, when she asked 
me, I told of how I had been trapped to the ruined 
hut that night and of all that had followed. When i 
had done she turned within my arm and clung to me 
with her face hidden. I kissed her and comforted 
her, and presently we came to the sycamore tree 
reaching out over the clear water, and to the boat that 
I had fastened there. 

The sunset was nigh at hand, and all the west was 
pink. The wind had died away, and the river lay 
like tinted glass between the dark borders of the for- 
est. Above the sky was blue, while in the south rose 
clouds that were like pillars, tall and golden. The 
air was soft as silk ; there was no sound other than 
the ripple of the water about our keel and the low 
dash of the oars. The minister rowed, while I sat 
idle beside my love. He would have it so, and I 
made slight demur. 

We left the bank behind us and glided into the 
midstream, for it was as well to be out of arrowshot. 


The shadow of the forest was gone ; still and bright 
around us lay the mighty river. When at length the 
boat head turned to the west, we saw far up the 
stream the roofs of Jamestown, dark against the rosy 

" There is a ship going home," said the minister. 

We to whom he spoke looked with him down the 
river, and saw a tall ship with her prow to the ocean. 
All her sails were set ; the last rays of the sinking 
sun struck against her poop windows and made of 
them a half-moon of fire. She went slowly, for the 
wind was light, but she went surely, away from the 
new land back to the old, down the stately river to 
the bay and the wide ocean, and to the burial at sea 
of one upon her. With her pearly sails and the line 
of flame color beneath, she looked a dwindling cloud ; 
a, little while, and she would be claimed of the dis- 
tance and the dusk. 

" It is the George," I said. 

The lady who sat beside me caught her breath. 
" Ay, sweetheart," I went on. " She carries one for 
whom she waited. He has gone from out our life 

She uttered a low cry and turned to me, trembling, 
her lips parted, her eyes eloquent. " We will not 
speak of him," I said. " As if he were dead let his 
name rest between us. I have another thing to tell 
thee, dear heart, dear court lady masking as a waiting 
damsel, dear ward of the King whom his Majesty hath 
thundered against for so many weary months. Would 
it grieve thee to go home, after all ? " 

"Home?" she asked. "To Weyanoke ? That 
would not grieve me." 

" Not to Weyanoke, but to England," I said. " The 


George is gone, but three days since tho Esperanee 
came in. When she sails again I think that we must 

She gazed at me with a whitening face. " And 
you ? " she whispered. " How will you go ? In 
chains ? " 

I took her clasped hands, parted them, and drew 
her arms around my neck. " Ay," I answered, " I 
will go in chains that I care not to have broken. My 
dear love, I think that the summer lies fair before us. 
Listen while I tell thee of news that the Esperance 

While I told of new orders from the Company to 
the Governor and of my letter from Buckingham, the 
minister rested upon his oars that he might hear the 
better. When I had ceased to speak he bent to them 
again, and his tireless strength sent us swiftly over 
the glassy water toward the town that was no longer 
distant. " I am more glad than I can tell you, Ralph 
and Jocelyn," he said, and the smile with which he 
spoke made his face beautiful. 

The light streaming to us from the ruddy west laid 
roses in the cheeks of the sometime ward of the King, 
and the low wind lifted the dark hair from her fore- 
head. Her head was on my breast, her hand in mine ; 
we cared not to speak, we were so happy. On her 
finger was her wedding ring, the ring that was only a 
link torn from the gold chain Prince Maurice had 
given me. When she saw my eyes upon it, she raised 
her hand and kissed the rude circlet. 

The hue of the sunset lingered in cloud and water, 
and in the pale heavens above the rose and purple 
shone the evening star. The cloudlike ship at which 
wo hnd gazed was gone into the distance and the twi- 


light ; we saw her no more. Broad between its black- 
ening shores stretched the James, mirroring the bloom 
in the west, the silver star, the lights upon the Esper- 
ance that lay between us and the town. Aboard her 
the mariners were singing, and their song of the sea 
floated over the water to us, sweetly and like a love 
song. We passed the ship unhailed, and glided on to 
the haven where we would be. The singing behind us 
died away, but the song in our hearts kept on. All 
things die not : while the soul lives, love lives : the song 
may be now gay, now plaintive, but it is deathless,